UPDATE: Lots of statements as the Trump administration appears to be badly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Sen. Michael Bennet set the mood soon after the announcement, with a statement we think speaks for the Democratic delegation:
“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. “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.”
And finally late today Sen. Cory Gardner is following Bennet’s lead in criticizing the order, albeit still very gently, which for us is nonetheless a significant sign that Donald Trump’s support is evaporating:
We expect the next few days to be highly eventful. Stay tuned.
— Chase Woodruff (@dcwoodruff) January 29, 2017
Hundreds of protesters gathered at Denver International Airport Saturday in the wake of President Donald Trump’s orders to temporarily ban refugees from entering the U.S.
“I am here to stand in solidarity with the immigrants and green card holder, students, professional and people who came to the United States for legitimate reasons,” said Samantha Reynolds. “Suddenly, they’re being denied access to the place they call home, with no due process, as far as I’m concerned.”
“There are four (kinds of) people in the world,” said Shauna Johnson. “There are bullies. There are the bullied. There are the silent and there are the defenders.”
“These people,” she said pointing toward the crowd, “are the defenders.”
State Reps. Joseph Salazar and Leslie Herod were on hand for the protest at DIA last night, with Salazar talking to authorities at several points to ensure things didn’t get out of hand:
After about three hours the protest at DIA ended, declaring a measure of victory after a federal judge partially halted President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel for the next 90 days from seven Muslim-majority nations. Travelers with valid visas who were detained in the U.S. will not be removed from the country, and travelers on route to the U.S. will be allowed to complete their journeys.
The ruling doesn’t address the larger question of affected legal U.S. residents who were caught traveling abroad at the time of the order but were not “in transit,” or the overall constitutionality of Trump’s order–though it does say that in the judge’s opinion the government is not likely to prevail. Going forward, there is a serious risk to people from Iraq and Syria in particular who have earned a trip to the U.S. for collaborating with American forces. At the very least, this situation creates a major disincentive to cooperate with America going forward for residents of these nations.
Even Republican state Sen. Larry Crowder gets it, making a stronger statement against Trump’s order than many fellow Republicans up the food chain:
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
Compare that to Sen. Cory Gardner’s non-response this weekend via CBS4:
Gardner also says Congress will be methodical on immigration reform. He also says that Executive Action is not the way to do it.
“People shouldn’t be afraid, I don’t think, in this country. We should be proud. We should take pride in the differences of opinion in this country. But never use that or let fear interfere with making this country stronger or fighting for your viewpoints,” said Gardner.
Rep. Mike Coffman manages to state his principles a little more clearly:
“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 only trouble is, as Denverite’s Erica Meltzer astutely observes, is nobody knows if Coffman is referring to Trump’s actual order, because:
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,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong told the Washington Post.
That kind of parsing leaves Coffman’s statement open to interpretation. [Pols emphasis]
Which, we suspect based on experience, is just the way Coffman likes it.
The ban on travel to the United States from numerous Muslim-majority nations is a fulfillment of a campaign promise from Trump, much like the headlong drive to repeal Obamacare, the halt to the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, and other orders issued by Trump in his first week in office. Each of these kept promises by Trump are a fresh disaster for Democrats and the majority of American voters who opposed him, growing the sense of outrage that has fueled protests from last week’s record-setting Women’s Marches to last night’s spontaneous protest at DIA.
We can’t tell you where this all ends, but it shows no signs of stopping.