6th Congressional District Democratic candidate Jason Crow speaks at a rally at Aurora's GEO immigrant holding facility June 20, 2018. Crow used the rally as a sounding board against the Trump Administration policy of separating arrested immigrant parents from their children. Photo by Philip B. Poston/ The Sentinel
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AURORA | Just before President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending a policy separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday, 6th Congressional Democratic candidate Jason Crow led a rally outside the immigration detention center in Aurora calling on Washington lawmakers to make permanent changes.

“Right now there are parents in facilities just like this one that have no idea where their children are, whether they are safe,” Crow said referencing the Aurora ICE Processing Center behind him. “There are children sitting at facilities on the border crying for their parents. Not knowing where they are or whether they will ever see them again. This is not who we are are as a country. This is not OK by any standard of decency. We will not put up with it. We will not tolerate it.”

The rally attracted about 50 supporters, Aurora city council members Allison Hiltz and Nicole Johnston, and Crow’s primary election opponent Levi Tillemann, who told the Sentinel there was lots said he agreed with, but that the ultimate solution is to impeach Trump.

“It’s great they channeled a lot of energy,” Tillemann said of the rally hosted by Crow’s campaign. “I’m in complete agreement with Crow that we need to stand united with our immigrants and the children. But when you look at the Muslim ban, the attacks on our communities of color and this zero tolerance policy, there is one thread that unites all of them. And that’s Donald Trump.”

Tillemann sent out a news release earlier Thursday calling out Crow and Aurora Congressman Mike Coffman, a Republican, for not advocating impeachment.

When asked whether that was a reasonable or realistic solution to instances like the one at the border, Crow said there are actions lawmakers can take now, but aren’t.

“We can hold this administration and Mike Coffman accountable now,” he said. “We have to win this race and replace leaders across the board who are refusing to act and lead on this issue. There are a lot of things we can and should be doing, and that’s what we’re doing right now.”

During the rally Crow said that only action will solve the problem at the border, and if Coffman won’t act voters will cast him out.

“We will remember those who have the power to stop it but don’t,” Crow said. “Who had the power to speak up against it but stayed silent. Let me very clear why we are all here today: it’s because of career politicians like Mike Coffman that tweet posts on social media but fail to hold Donald Trump accountable, fail to propose solutions. We have had enough of this. Talk is cheap.”

Coffman condemned the “zero tolerance policy” from the Trump administration earlier this week, saying in a statement he reached out to Sen. Diane Feinstein offering to introduce her bill in the House.

“… If there is a better bill sponsor to get this done, or if there is a better approach from Senator Sasse, I’m open to all reasonable options. Tearing children from the arms of parents and then isolating them alone is antithetical to the America I grew up in, and to the America that I have many times fought to defend,” he went on to say in the statement. “This isn’t who we are. My colleagues should mark their words and this moment — history won’t remember well those who support the continuation of this policy.”

Kara Mason covers local, state and national government and politics for The Sentinel. Reach her at 303-750-7555 or kmason@SentinelColorado.com.