Rep. Reed’s Changing Stance on Refugees

A chameleon is a lizard that has the ability to change color in order to survive.chameleon-pix-21 Political chameleons change their opinions or behavior according to the situation. Rep. Reed has changed his opinion on the issue of Syrian Refugees at least three times since the ISIS lead attacks on Paris last November.

A Summary of Rep. Reed’s remarks on closing the borders to a specific population:

  • On the day after the Paris Attacks, Rep. Reed, at a Town Hall Meeting in Phelps, said: “I’m not going to say to one population we’re going to close all the  borders to you.”
  • Three days later, back in Washington, he said: “We need to stop the Syrian refugee program.” That in effect is saying “to one population we’re going to close all the borders to you.”
  • Two days later Reed voted for  the American SAFE Act, which would make it realistically impossible for Syrians to relocate in the United States (or closes the borders to them.)
  • After Donald Trump announced his plan to “ban all Muslims” Rep. Reed states that he opposes Trump’s ban. (Which means Reed does NOT want to close the borders to them.)
  • This week in an interview Rep. Reed said, “I believe in the American vision of diversity the American vision of welcoming people who want to come here legally and pursue the American Dream.” 

Here are the complete quotes, with related news events noted in red:

November 13, 2015–  The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) coordinated a series of terrorist attacks in Paris and its northern suburb, Saint-Denis.

November 14, 2015 at Phelps Town Hall Meeting:

“We can not let this radical extreme behavior change what made us great as a country. By that what I mean is what made us great as a country is our diversity, our rich immigration history, our willingness to bring people, allow people to come to America, as long as you follow the rules, and we have a secure way to have that done. So I’m not going to say one population we’re going to close all the  borders to you and to and another population you have a presumptive pass and you can come on through without any security checks. What we need is to have a secure border system, and that should be the goal, not, some people now have knee jerk, and I get it that France and has temporarily closed all the borders…

…If the long term policy is that we’re going to close the borders and some how we’re going to build walls that somehow keeps us away from the rest of the world. It is just not realistic. It is not a solution that I think is good for us as a country long term. What made us great as a country is our willingness to be that leader and the ability to say we can keep ourselves safe—we’ll make that commitment but you can come so long as you go through the process.”

November 17, 2015—Press Release, “Reed Statement on Syrian Refugees

“I care about keeping Americans safe by keeping ISIS out of our country. It’s only right that we prioritize America’s security and thwart any potential act of terrorism on our soil. In light of the recent terror attacks in Paris, we need to stop the Syrian refugee program until the security measures are in place to guarantee our safety. We are a compassionate country and have demonstrated our humanitarian commitment with the billions of dollars we have provided in foreign aid to deal with situations just like this. However, we are extremely reluctant to allow this initiative to continue or expand until, at minimum, the Administration can actually demonstrate ways to keep us safe in the process.”

November 19, 2015–Vote on The American SAFE Act

Rep. Reed voted to approve H.R. 4038, The American SAFE Act, which would effectively shut down the U.S. Syrian refugee resettlement program. (The Bill was not passed in the Senate.)

On December 2, 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook (an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani decent) and his wife Tashfeen Malik, (a Pakistani-bornlawful permanent resident of the United States) killed 14 people and seriously injured 22  in a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, which consisted of a mass shooting and an attempted bombing. 

December 8, 2015–“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” a campaign press release said.(CNN)

December 8, 2015– In a conference call to NY23rd Newspapers:

“The kind of rhetoric that Donald Trump engaged in in regards to this Muslim issue is just not American,” Reed said. “To me that’s something he’ll have to answer for.”

Reed’s response echoed a statement to reporters Monday by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

“What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for,” Ryan said.

The article said, “but (Reed) said given the choice between Trump and a Democratic candidate, he’d still support Trump.”

(Corning Leader, 12/08/2015)

January 27, 2015-  News Interview

“I am concern about some of the rhetoric that he (Trump) has engaged in when came in  and he said he was going  to  ban all muslims from coming to America.  I immediately responded and rejected it. I believe in the American vision of diversity the American vision of welcoming people who want to come here legally and pursue the American Dream.”

(Buffalo WGRZ-TV Interview–article and video.)

It is difficult to understand where our representative stands on closing the borders to the Syrians (and other Muslims). Either he believes “We can not let this radical extreme behavior change what made us great as a country”or he doesn’t. He can’t have it both ways. In both cases (Syrians and Muslims) he is telling one population that they can not come to our country.

Reasonable people  can change their minds, but only if new facts come to light, and that is not the case here.  Reed has one opinion for his Washington Power Brokers, and another for the November voters.

People respect straight talkers, even if they don’t agree them. I’m sorry, Rep. Reed, People don’t respect political chameleons.






About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
This entry was posted in 2016, Congress, Constituents, Constitution, Defense, Ethics, Immigration, Reed's Views, Terrorism, Town Hall Meeting, War and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Rep. Reed’s Changing Stance on Refugees

  1. Deb Meeker says:

    Thanks for this report. Heads are spinning. One wonders if Tom Reed doesn’t understand that people are listening, and talking to each other about his statements? Reed had no problem being clear about wanting hydraulic fracturing all over New York, and, that he believes our President “hasn’t accomplished anything”.
    Real immigration reform, being critical to millions of people, is just too much for NY 23rd’s representative Tom Reed’s ability to take a clear stand. Reed better be careful – if Donald Trump became President, he would not care for Reed’s lack of support.


  2. whungerford says:

    Tom’s early statements may reflect his honest, unvarnished opinion; later statements may reflect Republican groupthink–the party line.


  3. pystew says:

    You are probably correct, but I keep think of Bernie Sanders’ vote against the Iranian War, and his comments to Congress why he voted that way.. A representative should be strong enough to really think about the issue, pick his stand, and stay with it, instead of following the Republican group-think line.

    I think the fact that Reed spent $21,000 for a poll speaks volumes.

    I wonder what he learned from his own (tax-paid) survey?


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