Colorado Governor Polis: Colorado Will Welcome Ukrainian Refugees
DENVER, CO (STL.News) Governor Jared Polis applauded the Biden administration’s decision to welcome Ukrainians to the United States and Colorado through the refugee resettlement system and pathways that reunify families. Last month, Governor Polis wrote to Secretary Antony J. Blinken of the US Department of State to inform the federal government that Colorado is ready to welcome refugees, provide support to Ukrainians. After meeting with Ukrainian Coloradans, Governor Polis asked Sec. Blinken and Sec. Mayorkas of the US Department of Homeland Security to increase immigration pathways for Ukrainians to the U.S.
“Refugees enhance our way of life and help our economy thrive. Providing refuge to the people of Ukraine fleeing Putin’s aggression is the Colorado way and I applaud President Biden for taking this action. In Colorado, we have taken bold steps to diplomatic ties with Russia, condemned Putin, divested from Russian interests, provided body armor to Ukrainians defending their democracy, worked to ensure Ukrainian-born Coloradans who are concerned with the safety of their loved ones have access to information on immigration resources and are acting as a partner to the federal government in this effort to welcome Ukrainians,” said Governor Polis. “Colorado looks forward to continuing to send strong support and necessary refuge to Ukrainians seeking to live freely, independently, and without fear in our great state and nation.”
Since day one, Governor Polis has been focused on building a Colorado for all, consistently welcoming refugees fleeing violence and oppression and enhancing the Colorado way of life and economy. For every federal dollar invested in their well-being, the state sees $1.23 returned in state and local tax revenue. Colorado traditionally receives 3% of the number of refugees welcomed each year and stands ready to continue the partnership with the federal government.
The Governor’s recent executive action also directed the Office of New Americans to support Ukrainian-born Coloradans and embrace those who are fleeing this conflict.
Governor Polis’s swift actions directed agencies to review relevant State contracts to determine if any were with Russian state-owned companies directly or as subcontractors and work to terminate such contracts if that was the case. The administration is also working to identify and focus resources on protecting the state’s critical infrastructure from Russian cyberattacks or misinformation efforts. Following Governor Polis’s executive action, Colorado PERA quickly divested $7.2M from a Russian bank, and the University of Colorado is divesting itself of its Russian state-owned assets.
At Governor Polis’ direction, Colorado is severing diplomatic ties with Russia and is no longer recognizing the Russian honorary consul. The Polis administration, through the Colorado Department of Public Safety (CDPS) and the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), launched an effort to collect surplus body armor and ballistic helmets to be sent to assist the Ukrainian people.
When the previous President issued a misguided Executive Order in 2019 essentially blocking refugee resettlements, Governor Polis was outspoken in opposition to this order and believed other states’ losses were Colorado’s gain.