• US President Donald Trump has fired the acting US Attorney General (pic) over his immigration ban. (AAP)
US President Donald Trump has fired acting US Attorney General Sally Yates after she ordered Justice Department lawyers not to enforce his immigration ban.
Source:
AAP
31 Jan - 5:52 PM 

US President Donald Trump has wasted little time in removing the acting attorney general from office after she said she would not defend his executive order on immigration in court.

Trump fired Sally Yates just hours after she issued a statement saying the Justice Department would not defend the controversial executive order "for as long as I am acting director."

A White House statement said Yates "betrayed" the Department of Justice "by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States."

"Ms Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration," Trump said in a statement.

"It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country."

The statement announced the appointment of Dana Boente, US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as acting attorney general until Senator Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate.

Also on Monday, Trump appointed Thomas Homan as acting director for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Homan has served as executive associate director of ICE enforcement and removal operations since 2013, the DHS statement said.

In that role, Homan led the agency's efforts "to identify, arrest, detain, and remove illegal aliens, including those who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety," the statement noted.

The statement made no mention of Daniel Ragsdale, who is currently listed as acting director on the ICE website. A DHS spokeswoman, however, said Ragsdale would continue to serve as ICE deputy director, according to The Washington Post.

Earlier, Yates issued an angry reaction to Trump's executive order issuing the travel ban, which affects the citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries and refugees from countries in conflict, mounted and protests across the United States raged.

The White House was adamant in its defence of the immigration order despite the controversy it has stirred. Spokesman Sean Spicer held firm to the position that the temporary ban has been good for the security of the country.

"The president's gonna be very proactive with protecting this country," Spicer said. "We're not gonna wait until we get attacked and figure out how we can make sure it doesn't happen again."

He repeated the administration's argument that only 109 people out of approximately 325,000 passengers who arrived in the US on Sunday were detained for questioning.

They were all cleared to enter, he said, adding they had been temporarily detained "to make sure that the safety of the other 324 million Americans was put first.