News of President Donald Trump temporarily slamming the borders on all refugees for 120 days— and for Syrians indefinitely— while blocking refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries has been explosive.
Over the weekend, protesters swarmed airports where refugees were being detained. Lawyers have filed lawsuits. A federal judge in Brooklyn temporarily stopped deportations of refugees who just arrived. Protests continued Sunday, including at Denver International Airport.
Some Republican members of Congress have spoken out against Trump’s executive order, which he signed Friday afternoon, with one from Colorado calling it an “embarrassment.” On Monday evening, Colorado’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet gave a 12-minute floor speech in response to Trump’s order, saying the Senate should “end the ban immediately” if Trump doesn’t rescind it.
Here’s what all nine members of Colorado’s congressional delegation — the two senators and seven representatives — are saying:
Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Yuma:
— Shaun Griswold (@shaun505) January 29, 2017
On Friday, a local TV station quoted Gardner saying, “People shouldn’t be afraid, I don’t think, in this country,” about Trump’s first few days in office. “We should be proud. We should take pride in the differences of opinions in this country. But never use that or let fear interfere with making this country stronger or fighting for your viewpoints.”
On Sunday, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora posted via 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.
As Denverite pointed out, Coffman’s statement “doesn’t actually refer to the order directly.”
But by Monday he had something way more direct to say.
“I certainly would agree with the president that Islamic terrorism is a real threat to our national security … But I think the policy was poorly thought-out and badly executed and I think it’s just an embarrassment,” he told The Denver Post’s Washington, D.C. reporter Mark K. Matthews in a brief interview at Reagan National Airport. “It seemed that it was more crafted by campaign operatives than national security experts.”
Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs called Trump’s travel ban “prudent.”
— Rep. Doug Lamborn (@RepDLamborn) January 30, 2017
Republican Congressman Scott Tipton of Cortez said he is concerned about confusion for green card holders, via Facebook:
I am concerned about the confusion that Friday’s executive order has created for U.S. green card holders and permanent residents. I support enhanced security screening for individuals who are traveling to the U.S. from countries that have been identified as terrorist hotbeds, and I believe we need to affirm that an individual isn’t a security threat before we allow them to enter our country. I encourage 3rd District green card holders and permanent residents who have been adversely impacted by the confusion about the executive order to contact my office, so my team and I can provide assistance.
Republican Congressman Ken Buck of Windsor, via email, said he believes Trump’s order addresses a serious issue:
Our country has always offered hope for the oppressed and homeless, but hope also requires safety and security. We should not let people into this country unless we can thoroughly vet them. America welcomes Muslims from 190 countries and temporarily bans all individuals from 7 countries. The President’s executive order is a temporary effort that addresses a serious issue with terrorist hot spots.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet 12-minute floor speech in response to Trump’s order on Monday in Washington, D.C.
Earlier he used Twitter to call on Trump to rescind the order. And if not, he said, Congress should override it.
“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 in a stateement provided via email.
More from Bennet:
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.
He also tweeted:
@POTUS should rescind EO. If not, Congress must stand together, override EO to end ban, & work to make U.S. safer consistent with our values
— Michael Bennet (@SenatorBennet) January 29, 2017
Democratic Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Denver, via Twitter:
— Rep. Diana DeGette (@RepDianaDeGette) January 27, 2017
Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter of Golden, via Facebook:
“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.”
And on Twitter:
#MuslimBan is extreme & conflicts with America's values. I will continue fighting for inclusiveness. Thank you to everyone protesting!
— Rep. Ed Perlmutter (@RepPerlmutter) January 29, 2017
Democratic Congressman Jared Polis of Boulder, via Twitter:
Statement on Donald Trump's executive order targeting Muslims. pic.twitter.com/GO9FHtx6Om
— Former Rep. Jared Polis (@RepJaredPolis) January 28, 2017
Polis also tweeted:
USA was there for my family fleeing Eastern European pograms in 1905, I will do my best to ensure that we are here for the next generation pic.twitter.com/woYenrQ1jT
— Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) January 29, 2017
As for Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, he called Trump’s travel ban “a powerful recruiting tool” for America’s enemies, and called for Trump to rescind the order.
“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.
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. The executive order serves as a powerful recruiting tool for our enemies and needlessly antagonizes our allies around the world. 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.”
Here’s Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman:
— John Frank ☀️ (@ByJohnFrank) January 31, 2017
At least one Republican member of Colorado’s state Senate, Larry Crowder of Alamosa, also registered surprise at Trump’s order.
Whoa!! Denying a green card holder reentry into America without regard to due process is cause concern. legal immigrants with legal rights
— Larry Crowder (@SenatorCrowder) January 29, 2017
The Washington Post is keeping a running whip count of where Republicans in Congress around the country stand on Trump’s travel ban.
On Sunday, Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had this to say:
“It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted. We are particularly concerned by reports that this order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security.
In Colorado, demonstrators have been showing up at the regional offices of some of the state’s delegation regardless of party. In Denver, about 40 called on Bennet to oppose Trump’s pick to lead the EPA. In Durango, about 50 people showed up to Gardner’s office in that town Tuesday “in an attempt to elicit a response from their elected official,” The Durango Herald reported.
On Friday more than a dozen were cited for trespassing during a demonstration at Gardner’s office in Denver.