DeGette talks politics with Englewood High students
Englewood High School students didn't need a trip to Washington, D.C., to get a taste of Congress.
Congress came to them.
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, who represents Denver, Englewood and nearby areas, addressed several dozen juniors and seniors at EHS on March 15.
The congresswoman didn't take long to begin talking about her immigration priorities, telling the story of a refugee who came north through Mexico to escape dangers of human trafficking.
“She saw the hope of the United States to give a better future for her children,” said DeGette, who identified herself during the talk as a “progressive Democrat.”
She also didn't shy away from President Donald Trump, climate change and gun regulation. DeGette mentioned her oversight power in Congress over the federal government in examining Trump's policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I held their feet to the fire,” DeGette told the audience.
She then mentioned a new effort in Congress to protect undocumented immigrants who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — a policy started under President Barack Obama — and those currently under a federal program called Temporary Protected Status.
Students in the audience showed their political knowledge, asking questions about the “green new deal,” a controversial effort to invest in clean-energy jobs and to push for a wider economic safety net.
DeGette talked at further length about her stance on immigration during the question-and-answer session, saying immigrants contribute tax revenue to the economy and that the country doesn't have enough people who will fill jobs in sectors like agriculture and landscaping.
“We're a nation of immigrants,” DeGette said. “Unless you're a Native American, you (came from) immigrants.”
Toward the end of the event, a student asked how the country should address gun violence in schools.
“I think we need a bill to ban assault weapons,” DeGette said, noting Columbine High School is in her district. “I really believe we need a red-flag law to confiscate guns from” the mentally unstable.
DeGette's area, Colorado's 1st Congressional District, includes Denver, Englewood, Sheridan, Cherry Hills Village, Bow Mar and unincorporated areas west of Littleton, such as Columbine.