Colorado Politicians Ripping Trump's Refugee Ban — and Those Silent So Far

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Denver, Colo.-, January 30, 2017 | comments

Protests against President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily banning refugees from entering the United States that started at Denver International Airport on Saturday, January 28, continued for most of Sunday, January 29 — as they did at many such facilities across the country. Plenty of Coloradans made their voices heard at the demonstrations, and numerous politicians in the state have weighed in, too. However, several notable members of Congress from Colorado's delegation have been silent on the subject.

Trump's order placed an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees coming to America, blocked refugees from all nations from entering the country for 120 days, and forbade visitors of any sort from seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — from coming here for ninety days. Moreover, the order mandates that followers of minority religions in Muslim-majority states (such as Christianity) will be prioritized.

Reaction to this edict was swift in many major American cities, including Denver. As Kyle Harris reported, as many as 1,000 people took part in Saturday's protest, with the Sunday crowd numbering in the hundreds.

Participants represented a diverse lot, as noted by Amal Kassir, an international spoken-word poet (and subject of a Westword cover story three years ago) who was among the organizers of the event. In a Facebook post shared earlier this morning, she wrote:

To my white brothers and sisters at DIA protest: a special, sincere thank you to each and every one of you. Thank you for standing without even a hesitation despite the risk of arrest. For knowing well that your presence was important. Thank you for your peace signs and your voices and your numbers and your passion and your patriotism. Thank you for protecting the worshipping Americans and the Constitution that protects them. Thank you for making this demonstration as big as it was. You were the majority. And together, we showed that when skin is just a color, everyone is invited to paint.

Thank you for supporting this cause. We the People are so radiant when we are colorful and we come in peace. 

Both of Colorado's U.S. senators and the majority of Congressional representatives have issued statements decrying all or part of Trump's executive order — every Democrat (plus the Colorado Democratic Party), as well as Republican Representative Mike Coffman and Senator Cory Gardner.

But we have been unable to find any comment on the order, be it positive or negative, from the other three Republican members of Congress from Colorado: Ken Buck, Scott Tipton and Doug Lamborn.

Below, read the statements issued to date, as illustrated by photos from our DIA-demonstration slideshow titled "These Protesters at DIA Condemned Trump's Refugee Ban." Also included is a photo of a refugee child whom Congresswoman Diana DeGette used to illustrate her Facebook post on the topic.

"For the second straight weekend, people have poured into the streets to show Donald Trump that we will rise up, and that we, the people, will not be silent in the face of discrimination and racism. Through this executive order, which is being challenged in court, President Trump has violated our American values and our constitution.

"Our nation is a nation that welcomes people of all races, religions, and creeds, and we are proud to stand with our brothers and sisters across this country against Trump's refugee order."

Representative Jared Polis (Democrat)

“Turning our backs on some of the most vulnerable populations throughout the world because of their religion is contrary to our values, and will only serve to further divide us as a nation.

“President Trump does not have the mandate for these extreme orders, and I will fight these harmful policies. These actions are highly disturbing, and they further underscore the need for both congressional Republicans and Democrats to come together and focus on fixing our broken immigration system in a practical and humane way."

Senator Michael Bennet (Democrat)

“The President’s executive order on refugees will harm, not enhance, our national security and marks a significant departure from our nation’s proud history of welcoming people in need of protection,” Bennet said. “To halt completely or to shape our refugee program by religious or ethnic preferences betrays the values that have made our country strong.

“Refugees are fleeing the same violence and extremism that threatens our nation’s security and are more thoroughly vetted than any other group of people entering the United States. In addition, targeting certain religions and groups will undermine our counterterrorism efforts by stoking anti-West sentiment among ISIS followers and other extremists.

“Instead, we should focus on addressing the security gaps in the Visa Waiver Program. We should implement a stronger strategy for countering ISIS propaganda in order to degrade its ability to radicalize and recruit. Finally, we should pass the 2013 immigration reform bill, which included measures to secure our borders and enhance interior enforcement. Addressing these vulnerabilities and investing in smart security solutions will help make us safer and remain true to our values.”

Representative Diana DeGette (Democrat)

"President Trump's executive order on refugees slammed the door to safety, security and hope for millions around the world. America has always been a beacon to oppressed people, and while this extreme policy is a major setback, it doesn't change America's inclusive spirit. Can President Trump look refugees like Omran Daqneesh, the Syrian boy in this photo.... the eye and say they’re not welcome? Could anyone with a conscience?"

Representative Ed Perlmutter (Democrat)

"These extreme and discriminatory actions conflict with America's values, and I will continue fighting to make sure our country is able to continue its history of inclusiveness while protecting the security of the American people. Thank you to the thousands of Americans protesting and standing up for American values at airports across the country."

Representative Mike Coffman (Republican)

"While I've supported heightened vetting procedures for those wanting to travel to our country, I have never, nor will I ever support a blanket travel ban for people solely based on ethnic or religious grounds."

Senator Cory Gardner (Republican)

“While I am supportive of strengthening our screening processes and securing our borders, a blanket travel ban goes too far. I also believe that lawful residents of the United States should be permitted to enter the country. I urge the Administration to take the appropriate steps to fix this overly broad executive order.”

Content originally published by Westword on January 30, 2017.
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