Congressman Lieu defends Syrian refugees, mocks climate change deniers

By Kevin Cody, EasyReader News

Last month, South Bay Congressional Representative Ted Lieu (D-33rd District) voted against a bill that would have banned Syrian refugees from entering the United States.

“As a former military man, I know that to defeat the enemy, we need to know the enemy. And they are not Syrian refugees fleeing from the real enemy,” Lieu said Monday during his talk at the 14th Annual Torrance Chamber of Commerce State of the Region lunch at the Doubletree Hotel in Torrance.

“There has never been a terrorist attack in the U.S. by a refugee. It’s bizarre to focus on a group that has nothing to do with terrorism,” he said. Lieu is a Lt. Colonel in U.S. Air Force Reserves and a former Air Force officer.

“Closing borders is not only un-American. It would be devastating to business. Fortress America has never worked,” he added.

“It makes more sense,” Lieu said, “to focus on our visa waiver program, which allows citizens from 30 European countries and eight other countries to enter the U.S. with very little vetting.”

He said that citizens of these 38 countries who travel to a country that supports terrorism should not be allowed to participate in the visa waiver program.


Representative Waters, whose 43rd Congressional District includes parts of Torrance, discussed her successful fight to reauthorize the Import Export Bank. (Photo by Kevin Cody)

On a positive note, Lieu praised the climate change agreement reached last week in Paris. He said he plans to introduce federal legislation similar to the climate control legislation he helped draft for California when he was a state senator.

“The ocean has risen three inches since 1993. Last year was the hottest year in recorded history, until this year,” the Congressman said. “Exxon Mobil has acknowledged that carbon emissions cause climate change. The military views climate change as a security threat because it will create food shortages, flooding and mass migration.

“As for the climate change deniers, ask them, ‘What does Exxon Mobil and the military know that they don’t know?”

Lieu was scheduled to fly back to Washington on Tuesday to vote on a new federal budget. The budget continuing resolution was due to expire Tuesday. Congress’ choices, he said, were to approve a budget, pass another continuing resolution, or shut down the government.

He said he is confident the government will not be shut down.

“I’ve talked to fellow freshmen, including Republicans, and they don’t want to shut down the government. This is not like previous years, when the economy was bad and people were angry at government. The economy is better now, so I’m hopeful it won’t happen,” Lieu said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Tuesday, December 15, 2015, Congress voted to approve a one week continuing resolution. ER

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