Foreign Policy and Human Rights

Foreign Affairs and National Defense

The American people have called for an end to our open-ended commitment in the Middle East. We should all be proud of our troops and their admirable service overseas. It is time to bring them home in a responsible manner.

Economic development, regional diplomacy, and effective political and legal institutions are the keys to success in the region. But these efforts cannot succeed amidst pervasive violence and insecurity.


Zoe has led bipartisan efforts to urge Presidents of both political parties to consult and receive authorization from Congress prior to ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria, citing the President’s responsibility to do so prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

She believes the nation's Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, but foresaw the need to ensure public debate — and the active engagement of Congress — prior to committing U.S. military assets.  Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.

Human Rights in Vietnam

Zoe is proud to have co-founded the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam with Former Representatives Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Tom Davis (R-VA) and serves as a current co-Chair. The actions of all nations must be measured against the standards of international behavior to which they have agreed. Having laws alone does not guarantee that they will be enforced or respected. This is clear in the case of Vietnam.

As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Vietnam is obliged to recognize freedom of expression. Article 69 of its own Constitution states: "the citizen shall enjoy freedom of opinion and speech, freedom of the press, the right to be informed, and the right to assemble..." Nonetheless, the government of Vietnam repeatedly and consciously violates its international obligations with its relentless persecution of those expressing their right to freedom of expression.

As a Member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, Zoe will continue to bring attention to political persecution in Vietnam and put pressure on the Vietnamese government to improve their human rights records.

More on Foreign Policy and Human Rights

March 16, 2016 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) issued the following statement today during markup in opposition to H.R. 4731, a Republican bill to attack refugees and the programs that serve them:

"This markup falls during a week that will end with the Republicans passing a partisan resolution condemning executive actions meant to bring some sense of sanity to our broken immigration system.  And it comes amidst a Presidential nomination season rife with vile anti-immigrant rhetoric.

February 26, 2016 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, 54 House Democrats, led by U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Luis V. Gutiérrez (D- Ill.), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), introduced new legislation to protect children and other vulnerable groups in immigration proceedings by ensuring access to counsel, legal orientation programs, and case management services.

February 24, 2016 Blog Post
Today, we are at war with ISIS in Syria and Iraq. ISIS, like Al-Qaeda, is a ruthless enemy. They are terrorists who pose a threat to U.S. national security and warrant the "foreign terrorist organization" designation. But the bill we are marking up now is not about ISIS, Al-Qaeda, or any other violent extremist organization.

February 10, 2016 Blog Post

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, released a new letter calling for formal guidance related to the dual national provisions of the Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.

January 12, 2016 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.Today, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) announced that Sameena Usman, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) San Francisco Bay Area Office, will attend the President Obama's final State of the Union Address as her invited guest.

November 19, 2015 Press Release
U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren issued the following statement on the House floor today in opposition to the Republican legislation to halt the U.S. Refugee program:

"Thank you Mr. Speaker –

"All of us watched with horror the events in Paris. November 13th was France's September 11th, and all of us have paused to consider what further should be done to make sure America is safe, because our first obligation as Members of Congress is to make sure America is safe.

November 19, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC Today, U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, introduced the No Guns for Terrorists Act of 2015 to prohibit the sale of firearms to individuals suspected of terrorism.

November 18, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, released the following statement:

November 18, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) released a bipartisan letter today urging President Obama to convey serious concerns about the Vietnamese government's detention of human rights activists during the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit this week.

October 23, 2015 Blog Post
I am concerned and saddened by the recent reports of increased violence in Israel and the West Bank.

I join with Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in urging both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to publicly condemn the violence, use rhetoric that will calm tensions in the region, and refrain from making public statements that will incite violence.