Republican Rep. Mike Coffman says he doesn’t support a travel ban based on religion. But how does he feel about Trump’s executive order?

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman addresses the crowd as the victor at the 2016 GOP watch party at the Double Tree Hotel in Greenwood Village on Nov. 8, 2016.  (Jessica Taves/For Denverite)election; republican; campaign; vote; voting; politics; colorado; copolitics; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado;
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman addresses the crowd as the victor at the 2016 GOP watch party at the Double Tree Hotel in Greenwood Village on Nov. 8, 2016. (Jessica Taves/For Denverite) election; republican; campaign; vote; voting; politics; colorado; copolitics; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado;
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman on Election Night. (Jessica Taves/For Denverite)

Update: The Denver Post caught up with Mike Coffman in D.C., and he had some stronger words. He called the executive order an “embarrassment” and said it was poorly thought out and poorly executed.

Presumably this is a statement in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees, but it doesn’t actually refer to the order directly.

Here’s what Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican whose district includes much of Aurora, said late Saturday on Twitter and Facebook:

“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.”

The executive order Trump signed on Friday bans entry of all refugees for 120 days, bans Syrian refugees indefinitely and bans entry by any citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries. On Saturday, even legal permanent residents of the U.S. from those seven countries were being denied entry if they happened to be abroad when the order was signed.

The order also says that religious minorities should get a preference in future refugee claims. That favors Christians in practical terms, and Trump has said it is his intent to favor Christian refugees over others.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan supported this order, despite opposing a Muslim ban before the election, because it’s just a ban on people from certain countries. Who happen to be Muslim.

“This is not a religious test and it is not a ban on people of any religion,” said Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong told the Washington Post.

That kind of parsing leaves Coffman’s statement open to interpretation.

Many Republicans have been silent on the ban, including the rest of the Republicans in Colorado’s Republican delegation, all of whom except Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs said back in 2015 that they would oppose a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

One of the most critical statements came from U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, a Pennsylvania Republican. A constituent of his had been planning a celebratory dinner with relatives from Syria for Saturday night, but instead the family of six — who had the appropriate visas and who weren’t refugees but regular immigrants — were put on a plane back to Qatar.

“It appears this order has been rushed through without full consideration of the many nuances of immigration policy that can be life or death for vulnerable people across the world,” Dent told the Morning Call newspaper in Allentown.

“This is not an acceptable situation, and I certainly urge the administration to halt enforcement of this order until a more deliberate policy can be instated,” he added. “I think that’s really the issue right now.”

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.