I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.”   -Elie Wiesel

For me, the treatment of refugees is personal.  It is well known that the Nazis regularly separated families.  That was true for my family.  The Nazis removed (and killed) my uncle from my grandparents.  We cannot allow the United States of America to separate families from each other and must end the federal government’s inhumane “zero tolerance” policy.

My mom was born in the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 13, 1945.  On April 14, 1945, Buchenwald was liberated by the US Army. First Switzerland, and then the United States, welcomed my family, providing humane treatment, freedom, and opportunity.  This is the tradition—of welcoming strangers with open arms—that our nation is built upon.  At our best, we are empathetic and welcoming, remembering that many of us came to the United States after traumatic experiences elsewhere. 

Our nation has the opportunity to live up to our empathetic and welcoming tradition by ending an inhumane policy that inflicts trauma on children.  Despite calls from leaders across the political spectrum to change this policy, including Laura Bush and a bipartisan group of former US Attorneys, the Trump Administration is refusing to budge.  But when “We the People” are loud and clear, our voices will be heard.

Even during one of our nation’s biggest moral failings, the internment of Japanese Americans, Colorado Governor Ralph Carr stood up for the principle of equal and fair treatment for all.  Governor John Hickenlooper now follows this tradition by acting to forbid Colorado state law enforcement from aiding or abetting any action to separate families.  Our Colorado Attorney General, however, has stayed silent and has failed to join with other State Attorneys General in condemning the “no tolerance” policy adopted by the Trump Administration.

The humane and legal treatment of immigrants is a moral imperative.  As Attorney General, I will defend the constitutional rights of and fight for the fair treatment of immigrants.  I will protect the DREAMers and challenge the Muslim ban.  I will defend the right of cities like Denver to refuse to allow their law enforcement officials to be commandeered by the Department of Homeland Security and turned into deportation police.  I will also evaluate whether there are viable legal avenues to end the “zero tolerance” policy. 

We cannot wait for—and should not need—a court of law to end the “zero tolerance” policy recently adopted by the Trump Administration.  We must end this horrific practice through political pressure that calls on the federal government to live up to our values as Americans.  Now is the time to live up to our values as a nation and as human beings by standing up for these children and families. To make your voices heard, please join me this Friday, June 22nd at 4 pm in Boulder as I join others to speak out against the inhumane policy of separating children from their families.

Four Generations
Phil, daughter, grandma, and mom