The State Department draft letter references the fact that in the "isolated incidents of foreign nationals entering the USA on a visa to commit acts of terror", they have arrived from countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which are no included in the executive order. "I think that they should either get with the program or they can go", he told reporters at his daily briefing.
A dissent cable says Donald Trump's temporary visa and refugee ban "runs counter to American values" and could be "counterproductive". "The United States is a nation of immigrants, starting from its very origins". The memo argues that individuals should not be shut out of the U.S. based on their religion, race, sex or national origin. "The concept that immigrants and foreigners are welcome is an essential element of our society, our government, and our foreign policy".
The State Department employees argued that such targeted action against citizens of Muslim-majority countries will only create further anti-American sentiment which terror groups use to radicalize people. He also points out that the order is destructive to U.S. relations with Iraq, a USA ally, because it is lodged into the same bucket with 5 failed states and Iran. "Hell no, I'm not signing it!", one current foreign service officer posted overseas who has been involved in the service for over seven years told VICE News.
Scores more could end up signing onto the memo before it's transmitted to Washington, although the time frame for filing is not clear. Responses and edits are being sent directly to the drafter.
Usually, dissent cables come from one particular mission or region, but the sheer number of foreign service officers expected to sign the document suggests the cable is attracting support from members of the state department around the globe. It is mandated that those using the channel will not be subjected to disciplinary action.
The most recent use of the dissent channel was in June past year, when more than 50 diplomats sharply criticised the Obama administration's policy in Syria. This was established in the 1960s to guarantee that policymakers had access to views on the Vietnam War that deviated from the establishment consensus.
"Freedom from reprisal for Dissent Channel users is strictly enforced", the regulations state. The dissenters met with Secretary Kerry, although no policy change resulted from that message.
The draft memo in the "dissent channel", through which dissenting views are sent to the secretary of state and other top department officials, argued the policy would be counterproductive and damage America's image overseas.
"This is an important process that the Acting Secretary, and the Department as a whole, value and respect", Toner said.
It is Department of State policy that all US citizen employees, foreign and domestic, be able to express dissenting or alternative views on substantive issues of policy, in a manner which ensures serious, high-level review and response.
"This dissent cable illustrates a widespread sense of outrage and alarm throughout the building", one State Department official said.