Polis, other Colorado Dems blast Trump order calling for Mexican border wall
A small fence separates densely populated Tijuana, Mexico, right, from the United States in the Border Patrols San Diego Sector. Wiki Commons photo.
Mexico is the second largest trading partner for Colorado goods and services, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, importing nearly $1 billion in goods a year and accounting for more than 105,000 Colorado jobs. And the state is both a major tourism destination for Mexican travelers
as well as a significant source of tourists to Mexico.
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis
“Asking American taxpayers to pay billions of dollars for a fence along our southern border will not do anything to fix our broken immigration system,” said U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat who also represents the Vail Valley in Congress. Polis also blasted Trump’s directive threatening to withhold federal funding from so-called “sanctuary cities” such as Boulder.
“Holding cities hostage by threatening to cut federal funding places an unfunded burden on local municipalities to enforce federal immigration law, and runs contrary to their constitutional rights,” Polis added. “If the president is serious about reforming our immigration system, he should begin by working with Congress to create a modern system of lawful migration that is consistent with our values and economic needs as a nation.”
Polis argues that a 2013 bipartisan immigration plan that passed the Senate but was never voted on in the House had three times the funding for border security as the Trump administration is proposing, and it would have reduced the budget deficit by nearly $200 billion over 10 years.
Conservation Colorado Executive Director Pete Maysmith also blasted Trump’s executive action on immigration.
“As an organization that does significant organizing with Latino and immigrant communities, we see firsthand how these sorts of extreme policies would impact people across the board and hurt our neighbors, friends, and colleagues. We are appalled by these announcements, which are immoral and contrary to our American values,” Maysmith said, adding the proposed 2,000-mile border wall would be an environmental disaster.
“These policies will also have major impacts on the environment, including the border wall’s destruction of one of the most unique habitats and important wildlife corridors in the American Southwest,” Maysmith said.
State lawmakers also chimed in.
“The border wall is offensive, useless and costly to our taxpayers who will have to foot the bill despite President Trump’s fantasy that the Mexican government will pay for it,” said Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora. “The marches across the country showed us that Americans reject hateful and divisive ideas and want us to work on ways to keep families together, not tear them apart.”
Some polling finds Americans fairly evenly split on building the border wall. A recent Morning Consult/Politico poll
found that 47 percent of voters support building a wall
along the U.S.-Mexico border, and 45 percent oppose, which holds with results from their Sep. 2
poll, where 46 percent supported and 45 percent opposed. But other pre-election polls
found a majority (60 percent) of likely voters opposed the wall.
The Politico poll, released Wednesday, found that illegal immigration was only the fourth greatest threat to America after domestic terrorism, economic collapse and international terrorism. Also, the poll found that 68 percent of voters support allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. if they meet certain standards, compared to 25 percent who oppose, and that 72 percent of voters want to allow undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as young children to be able to apply for legal status.
Colorado state Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, blasted Trump’s action:
“Not only does President Trump want to target hard-working people who have made so many positive contributions to their communities, and tear them from their families, but he wants to build a wall the American people will most assuredly be paying for?” Guzman said. “These un-American actions run completely counter to what we as Coloradans stand for, and we will not turn our backs on our neighbors.”
Republicans in Congress are irritated that Trump continues to falsely maintain that voter fraud by millions of illegal immigrants cost him the popular vote, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, stood by the state’s election results that saw Democrat Hillary Clinton win the state by three percentage points.
“In Colorado our clerks and our judges prevent the overwhelming majority of attempts to vote that are improper,” he said. “Voter fraud is rare but it undercuts our confidence in democracy, which is why it is so critical to protect against.”
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David O. Williams is an award-winning energy, environmental, political, entertainment, outdoor and sports writer based in the Vail Valley. His work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, LA Weekly, ESPN.com, SKI Magazine, Powder and People Magazine. He also regularly contributes to The Colorado Statesman and Atlantic Media's RouteFifty.com.