Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday urged President Donald Trump to rescind his executive order temporarily banning all Syrian war refugees and blocking travel into the United States for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries — none of which have produced terrorists who have killed Americans on U.S. soil since 9/11.
“The vast majority of refugees admitted to the United States are families, mainly comprised of women and children, and all refugees are admitted only after they make it through the world’s toughest vetting program. Many of the refugees helped US forces, often in violent and chaotic circumstances, risking their lives in the process,” Hickenlooper said in a prepared statement.
Hickenlooper went on to support making refugee screening is as stringent as possible.
“We can and should continue to work with the federal government and Homeland Security to ensure that the verification system used to screen refugees is as stringent as possible. But we can do that while we honor our values as Americans. Religious tests and blanket bans diminish those values and injure our international reputation,” Hickenlooper said, adding the order actually makes Americans less safe.
“The executive order serves as a powerful recruiting tool for our enemies and needlessly antagonizes our allies around the world,” Hickenlooper added. “We believe that Americans will be less safe, at home and abroad, if the executive order is fully implemented. We urge the President to rescind the executive order.”
Not on Trump’s list of seven banned nations is Saudi Arabia, a country that produced 18 of the 19 9/11 hijackers and also hosts several of the Trump family business interests.
Members of Colorado’s congressional delegation, both Republicans and Democrats, have largely been critical of the order, but with varying degrees of intensity. U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, a military veteran, called the order an “embarrassment,” while U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, called it “prudent.”
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, blasted the order and has promised to try to block Trump’s nomination of Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions to the office of attorney general because of his views on immigration and civil rights.
“The U.S. Attorney General must ensure equal justice under the law, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation,” Bennet said in a statement issued last week. “Jeff Sessions has repeatedly opposed efforts to protect the rights and liberties of all Americans. I cannot support his nomination.”
Democratic state lawmakers in Colorado also have been very critical of Trump’s travel ban order, introducing a resolution of opposition on Monday. State House Democrats also said they will bring forward more measures in the coming days responding to “Trump’s offensive [orders] against minorities, immigrants, refugees, women and others.”
“In so many ways, Donald Trump is implementing a policy of separating the United States from the rest of the world,” Rep. Chris Hansen, D-Denver, said in a release. “The risks of a new American isolationism are immense. This is unnecessarily divisive and warrants our immediate attention.”
Trump also stirred outrage and protests for issuing and order calling for a 2,000-mile border wall between the U.S. and Mexico — a nation that’s the second largest trading partner for Colorado.
Monday’s resolution, sponsored by Reps. Hansen and Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, honors America’s history as a nation of immigrants, “especially its long record of accepting refugees fleeing war, famine and oppression. It calls on Trump to rescind the order for Congress to overturn it.
“This administration is way out of step with Colorado,” Michaelson Jenet said in a release. “Whether it’s directing the construction of an unnecessary, costly and stigmatizing wall on the Mexican border, whether it’s him threatening DACA recipients and DREAMers, whether it’s his attacks on women or his unconstitutional executive order targeting Muslims, we cannot and will not stand for these actions.”
Colorado leaders have been rallying for weeks to protect immigrants who came here at a very young age and registered under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that shield’s the so-called Dreamers from deportation.
“It seems clear that we have not seen the last Trump action that violates America’s values and laws,” said Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Adams County. “I am deeply concerned that among his next steps will be to order the deportation of children who have grown up in this country and are protected under the DACA program. I will support an inclusive Colorado and an inclusive America, and I’ll oppose every reckless attempt coming out of Washington to divide us.”
The resolution is being scheduled for floor debate today. Other Democratic actions to “protect against broad federal overreach” are expected in the coming days.