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State Department officials plan to lodge a formal dissent against President Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven Middle Eastern countries, and are calling the decision “a knee-jerk reaction” that will not prevent terrorist attacks.

“A policy which closes our doors to over 200 million legitimate travelers in the hopes of preventing a small number of travelers who intend to harm Americans from using the visa system will not achieve its aim of making our country safer,” the dissenters wrote in a draft memo obtained by Lawfareblog.

Trump issued the order, which suspended immigration from seven “countries of concern” for terrorist movements, on Friday. That sparked a wave of protests as travelers from Iraq, Syria, and other affected countries who were en route to the United States were either detained upon arrival or barred from boarding their flights overseas.

The dissent memo argued that Trump should have sought “alternative solutions” to the travel ban. “There is no question that the visa process can be improved and refined to better detect individuals who intend to exploit the United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes,” the memo said.

The officials suggested a broader vetting program, “including those who may hold ‘friendly’ or even U.S. passports,” and “continuous vetting” of “individuals that may become radicalized.” They also proposed expanding a program that curates reports from overseas about potential terrorist threats who have come to the United States.

Failure to reverse the order will “increase anti-American sentiment” in the Middle East, “which sees the ban as religiously-motivated,” they argued, and “have an immediate and clear humanitarian impact” by impeding the travel of thousands of foreign nationals who come to the United States seeking medical care.

“We do not need to place a blanket ban that keeps 220 million people — men, women, and children — from entering the United States to protect our homeland,” the draft dissent said. “We do not need to alienate entire societies to stay safe. And we do not need to sacrifice our reputation as a nation which is open and welcoming to protect our families. It is well within our reach to create a visa process which is more secure, which reflects our American values, and which would make the department proud.”

Trump disagreed Monday morning, and said immediate steps need to be taken to keep the country safe.

“There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country,” Trump said Monday morning in a pair of tweets. “If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad ‘dudes’ out there!”

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