East Hawaii News

Hirono Opposes ‘Anti-Refugee’ Legislation

January 20, 2016, 3:45 PM HST
* Updated January 20, 3:15 PM
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Senator Mazie Hirono. U.S. Senate photo.

Senator Mazie Hirono. U.S. Senate photo.

Senator Mazie Hirono voted Wednesday against legislation that would require the Director of National Intelligence, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to individually review and approve the admission of any refugee from Syria or Iraq.

“Keeping Americans safe should always be our first priority. However, this legislation does nothing to improve national security,” said Senator Hirono. “Instead, it uses smoke and mirrors to effectively ban refugees – in many cases families and children – fleeing a deadly civil war.

“Instead of spending time on political stunts like this one, let’s come together to discuss solutions that will actually improve our nation’s security. For example, let’s close the legal loophole that allows people on terror watch lists to purchase guns and explosives. Or debate ways to increase resources for federal, state, and local anti-terror collaboration. Or enhance overseas airport screening procedures and resources. In short, our approach to national security should live up to our values. We should focus on measures that make our communities more secure, not less welcoming to those who may be a different religion or from a particular region—especially if they are fleeing violence in search of peace and a better life.”

The legislation, H.R. 4038, needed 60 votes to move forward and failed with a count of 55-43.

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