Colorado Democrats denounce President Trump’s refugee and travel ban

U.S. Representative Diana DeGette at the Martin Luther King Jr. Marade, Jan. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

mlk; marade; martin luther king jr; city park; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
U.S. Representative Diana DeGette at the Martin Luther King Jr. Marade, Jan. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) mlk; marade; martin luther king jr; city park; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
U.S. Representative Diana DeGette at the Martin Luther King Jr. Marade, Jan. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

After President Donald Trump signed an order Friday banning refugees and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim counties from entering the country, Democratic members of Colorado’s congressional delegation denounced the ban.

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, who represents the heavily immigrant Sixth Congressional District, issued a short statement late Saturday that did not directly refer to the president’s order, while other Republicans were quiet.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, who represents Colorado’s First Congressional District, which includes Denver, first tweeted that the “refugee ban is discriminatory, hurts asylum seekers worldwide & thwarts our progress countering violent extremism. It’s just wrong.”

Saturday, she reiterated her position in a statement for Denverite:

“President Trump’s executive order on refugees slammed the door to safety, security and hope for millions around the world. Reverberations are already being felt, with travelers and migrants en-route to the United States being detained at airports around the world — even people who hold valid current green cards that normally would let them come and go at will,” she wrote.

“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.”

Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder called the executive order “extreme” and said he would work against it.

“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,” Polis said in a statement.  “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.”

Polis voted in 2015 to make it harder for Syrian refugees to get into the country, though Democrats in the Senate prevented that bill from reaching the desk of President Barack Obama.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter did not issue a statement on the executive order.

(Update: Perlmutter posted this on Facebook Sunday: “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.”)

Sen. Michael Bennet said the order harms America’s national security.

“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,” he said in his statement. “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.”

Coffman’s statement posted to Facebook and Twitter late Saturday, was much less specific.

“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,” he said.

Colorado’s other Republican representatives, Reps. Ken Buck, Scott Tipton and Doug Lamborn, were silent on the refugee and travel ban, as was Sen. Cory Gardner.

Update: Gardner issued a statement opposed to the ban on Sunday.

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean covers dining and nightlife, and other odds and ends. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes her bourbon straight and has strong opinions about Kanye West. She can be reached at adean@denverite.com, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.