Statement on Dismissal of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

January 31st, 2017

Having worked with Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, SALDEF was disappointed to learn last night that she was abruptly removed from that position. She was dismissed after refusing to defend President Trump’s executive order sealing the nation’s borders to refugees and people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. SALDEF has opposed these anti-refugee, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim executive actions because they target minority communities and perpetuate racial and religious profiling.

Sally YatesIn 2010, when Yates was the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, her office was instrumental in allowing Sikh Americans to practice their faith after the state’s Department of Driver Services (DDS) denied a Sikh American father and son the right to have their driver’s license picture taken. With her leadership and SALDEF’s advocacy, both men were ultimately allowed to wear their dastaar (turban) in their Georgia driver’s license photos.

SALDEF subsequently conducted a Sikh awareness presentation for approximately 120 DDS customer service representatives and supervisors from all over the state. We also made a presentation to Yates’ executive staff–among the highest law enforcement officials in the district–to increase awareness about discrimination and harassment specifically impacting the Sikh American community. At the time, Yates stated, “This was one of the most useful trainings I have attended, and I am pleased that we will be further strengthening our relationship with the local Sikh American community over the next several months.”

Yates has demonstrated leadership as a staunch defender of our Constitution, immigrants’ rights, and the rights of religious minorities. SALDEF thanks Yates for her principled legal stance. We will continue to work with our allies in government, the civil rights community, and Sikh Americans across the country to ensure that the rights of all Americans are protected.

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