• April 14th, 2024
  • Sunday, 01:40:39 AM

This Case Calls For Compassion

Last week brought increasingly troubling developments out of the Trump administration and Republican Congress as they seek to enact their agenda.

After months of speculation over the administration’s alleged ties to Russia, this issue took center stage last week when National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned. This shocking development came a day after I signed on to a letter with 40 other House Democrats calling for his suspension, so it appears our concerns were well-founded.

[pullquote]Jeanette Vizguerra is a leader in immigrants’ rights; many more like her remain silent for fear of reprisal.[/pullquote]

While it is good that Mr. Flynn is no longer in a position of trust within our government, this news only underscores how little we know about the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. I strongly call on House Republicans to do their job and launch a formal investigation into the relationship between Russia and the White House. Partisanship has no place in important matters of national security.

We have also seen the effects of the administration’s brutal crackdown on undocumented immigrants, separating mixed-status families in cities across the nation, including in Denver. Jeanette Vizguerra came to the U.S. in 1997 as an undocumented individual and has spent the last 20 years raising a family in Colorado and contributing to our community. She has previously been granted stays of deportation, but her latest request was denied. She is currently seeking sanctuary in a church in Denver.

The unique circumstances of this case call for compassion. I have conferred with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Senator Michael Bennet and Congressman Jared Polis. I have also been in contact with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Colorado and Washington. President Trump is right that our immigration system is broken, but ripping mothers and fathers away from their children is not the fix we need. Jeanette Vizguerra is a leader in immigrants’ rights; many more like her remain silent for fear of reprisal.

I also worked to blunt the Republican administration’s assault on environmental protection. At an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing last week, I spoke about Colorado’s Voluntary Cleanup and Redevelopment Program, created by my bill in the state legislature in 1994. It gave businesses incentives to redevelop brownfield sites that had been sitting vacant for years. Since then, thousands of brownfield sites in our state have been given a new life. President Trump and Congressional Republicans who see all regulations as needlessly cumbersome should take a page from Colorado’s playbook. Smart protections can yield big rewards.

I also led the debate on the House floor against H.J. Res. 43, a Republican plan to roll back funding for family planning and other health services through Title X. This came days after enlisting 161 of my Democratic colleagues in signing on to a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan calling on him to stop Republican attacks on women’s health. For more than 40 years, Title X has helped provide crucial health services to millions of women who need them most. This resolution is the latest in a long list of GOP attempts to limit women’s health care options. In a comment last week on the Affordable Care Act, Speaker Ryan proclaimed that “patients and doctors should be making the big decisions, not government bureaucrats.” If this is true, then why are House Republicans so eager to attack women’s health and ditch Title X funds?

February 18th, marked the 75thanniversary of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of Japanese Americans in camps across the United States, including Camp Amache in Colorado. Although some people condemned these actions including the courageous and eloquent then-Colorado Governor Ralph Carr, it was not enough to overcome unsubstantiated fear and unchallenged prejudice. We honor the men and women who lived through this dark chapter and pledge to always speak out against discrimination.

Diana DeGette serves as a Congresswoman in Colorado’s 1st congressional district, and is a Chief Deputy Whip.