Governor Polis tells the State Dept. that Colorado will Welcome Ukrainian Refugees, Writes to Ukrainian, Russian Embassies and Consulates, Treasurer Young & Colorado PERA

Friday, February 25, 2022

DENVER -  This week, Governor Jared Polis signed an Executive Order on new state actions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Today, 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 and is prepared to provide support to Ukrainians. Today, Governor Polis also wrote to the Ukrainian Embassy and Consulate, the Russian Embassy and Consulate,  Colorado Treasurer Dave Young, and Colorado PERA.

“My administration supports federal sanctions against the Russian government and Russian state-owned institutions for Russia’s acts of aggression and invasion of Ukraine. Colorado is also acting to condemn Russia’s actions on a state-level and to support Ukrainians home and abroad,”  the Governor’s letter to Secretary Blinken. 

The Polis administration began the New American Initiative in November 2019 to help the state address barriers to immigrant integration in Colorado.

“Colorado will welcome Ukrainian refugees. Colorado is home to approximately 11,000 Ukrainian Americans who can help us support Ukrainian refugees. Our state has a long history of resettling refugees. I directed Colorado’s Office of New Americans to continue and enhance interagency and collaborative efforts to support Ukrainian-born Coloradans and those who are fleeing this conflict. Specifically, the Office will assist by exploring all options for housing, future State employment, and access to resources. Colorado stands at the ready to embrace Ukrainian refugees and urges the Administration, should this conflict continue, to streamline their ability to find safety and sanctuary,” the Governor continued to Sec. Blinken.  

In a letter to the Ukrainian Embassy and Consulate, Governor Polis pledged to welcome refugees to Colorado, writing “Colorado stands at the ready to embrace Ukrainian refugees should this conflict continue.”

Adding, “Colorado stands on the side of freedom and we proudly support a democratic and independent Ukraine. War, violence, and chaos threaten the very foundations of the global economy and our national security. Colorado will not turn its head. We will take affirmative actions to support Ukrainians and hold Russia accountable,” 

In a letter to the Russian Embassy and Consulate, Governor Polis stated, “Colorado is also severing diplomatic ties with Russia. We are no longer recognizing the consular mission and I respectfully request that you remove Colorado from the consular mission of the Consulate General in Houston and decertify the Honorary Consul from Colorado. Should at some point the regime change in Russia to one that honors global order, or when Russia withdraws from the full territory of the independent nation of Ukraine, Colorado will reconsider our recognition of the Russian state. Colorado is also home to over 55,000 Russian-born residents, and as we take these steps, we take them against the Russian government, not the Russian people, many of whom oppose your government’s actions. We are in full support of the Russian people who suffer under authoritarian rule.”

Governor Polis thanked State Treasurer Dave Young for his quick actions, writing: “I know that we share our condemnation of Russia’s actions and will move together to ensure that Colorado’s taxpayer dollars are not used to support the Russian government. I appreciate your expeditious response yesterday in reviewing the state’s investment portfolio and confirming that the Colorado Treasury Department does not hold assets tied to the Russian government.”

In a letter to Colorado PERA, Governor Polis wrote “I applaud Colorado PERA’s quick action to divest $7.2M from a Russian bank and urge the complete divestiture of the PERA Trust Fund from any and all Russian state-owned institutions. We cannot continue to provide financial support to a regime that so brazenly disregarded international law and launched such an indefensible attack.”