THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - After years of denying he even possessed chemical weapons, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad now says Syria will join the International Chemical Weapons Convention. It signals he is willing to declare and destroy the country's stockpile of chemical weapons. Congressman Raul Ruiz says it's a step in the right direction.
"It was a gross violation of international law, it was a crime to humanity," said Ruiz.
In a sit down interview Ruiz says there is no denying Syria used chemical weapons.
"We should as an international community implement the laws and there should be some repercussions, the best case scenario is that we do that in a peaceful diplomatic way where we can bring Russia and Syria to the table and remove the chemical weapons," said Ruiz.
In regards to a military strike Ruiz said, "Right now it would be premature to tell you what we would do because it is an evolving scenario.
The Democrat says he is waiting for all of the facts to make a decision but one thing he made very clear.
"I do not want boots on the ground, I do not want another Iraq war, I do not want another Afghanistan war and that is why I am very pleased that we can continue to pursue and advocate a peaceful diplomatic solution," said Ruiz.
Ruiz says we need to take care of the veterans we have. Right now he is working on bill to help streamline their healthcare.
"(The bill) would combine the medical records for the VA and the Department of Defense the electronic medical records in order to expedite the calms the backlog that is so long, it would definitely shorten the time for our veterans," said Ruiz.
Ruiz says he is also focused on immigration reform.
"We have two of the top three industries in our district rely on immigrant labor, tourism and agriculture. The law enforcement will tell you we need comprehensive immigration reform to keep our community safer because an immigrant who is afraid to reach out to the police officer to inform them of crime in the community is not helping our law enforcement," said Ruiz.
Ruiz would not directly endorse California's proposed undocumented driver's license bill, but says nationwide reform should include driving privileges.
"By passing comprehensive immigration reform we will reduce the deficit by $850 billion in over 20 years and it would improve the economy," said Ruiz.
Even though the situation in Syria is taking center stage, Ruiz says work on immigration reform is still going on. He expects a bill by the end of the year.