Thursday, 24 December 2015 00:00

Rep. Ted Lieu on Why It Doesn't Make Sense to Scapegoal Syrian Refugees

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"On National Security: We do that in the last few months we've had an airliner blown up - apparently by terrorists. We've had civilians massacred in Beirut - in Paris - in Mali - and then recently in San Benardino. The investigations are still ongoing. But the one thing we do know is that none of these terrorist attacks were caused by Syrian refugees.

 

"It was sort of bizarre to me lat month when the House of Representatives - in a very knee jerk reaction - did a response which essentially passed a bill that I voted NO on - that was going to ban Syrian refugees from coming to the United States.

"And it's strange to me and completely idiotic to scapegoat a group of people that had nothing to do with these terrorist attacks.

"I am now twenty years in the military. I served active duty for four years. I've been in the reserves now sixteen years. Two weeks ago the Air Force selected me for promotion to colonel.

"So military strategists from Sun Tzu till today - from all our generals - what they'll teach is to defeat your enemy - you have to know your enemy. And our enemies are I.S.I.L. and Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations - they are NOT Syrian refugees fleeing these terrorist organizations. And if you look at the facts - last year the U.S. let in about twenty-two hundred Syrian refugees. Half were children. A quarter were senior citizens. If we can't vet them, they don't come in. They go through an eighteen to twenty-four month vetting process. So it was totally bizarre that we would scapegoat this group of people. And I'm very pleased that after the House of Representatives actually sat back and thought about it, they realized what a stupid thing it was.

"And if you look at their most recent bills that passed Congress in terms of omnibus - it did not include anything on Syrian refugees.

"The other point I want to make is when I was active duty in the Air Force I worked on Operation Pacific Haven. It was a humanitarian operation that went in and extracted thousands of Kurds - Iraqis out of norther Iraq - because at the time Saddam Hussein was going to go in and kill them. So we took these Kurds out of Northern Iraq. We flew them to Guam where I was stationed, and we had to vet them and make sure they were secure - and then we flew most of them to the United States.

"To this day the Kurds love the United States. They are one of our main allies in the Middle East. So there are a number of strategic reasons also why we have SyriaAmerica was started because of people fleeing religious persecution. And it was completely - not only just bizarre - it was un-American for us to scapegoat this group of people. And hopefully other than what presidential candidates say, hopefully this issue dies down.

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Andrea Miller

Andrea Miller, Co-Executive Director and IT Director, was the Democratic Nominee in 2008 for House of Representatives in the Virginia 4th District. Running on a Medicare for All and clean energy platform, Andrea was endorsed by PDA, California Nurses and The Sierra Club. Prior to running for office, Andrea was a part of Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s presidential campaign, first as Statewide Coordinator for Virginia and subsequently as Regional Coordinator. From 2006 until leading the VA Kucinich campaign Andrea was MoveOn.org’s Regional Coordinator for Central, Southwest and Hampton Roads areas of Virginia and West Virginia. Andrea is also the PDA Virginia co-chair as well as the Technical Director. Andrea co-hosts, organizes and programs PDA's Blog Talk Radio show. She is also the lead designer and production team leader for PDA's websites and printed materials. Andrea co-directs PDA's Capitol Hill letter drops and Hill meetings. Her problem-solving skills are essential to PDA's operations.