Congressman Lamar Smith

Representing the 21st District of Texas
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Homeland Security

soldier in silouhette

America remains at war with terrorists who continue to target the American people. Our national security agencies must stay on the offensive and keep our enemies on the defensive.

While our intelligence agencies must learn from any mistakes, we cannot wait for any further incidents to expose any additional vulnerability. We must improve our threat assessments and undertake appropriate security protections. We must design and implement strategies to prevent terrorists from ever attempting any attacks. By doing so, we can prevent another terrorist attack and save thousands of lives.

I have co-sponsored legislation that requires the President to notify Congress 60 days before a transfer or release of a GITMO detainee occurs and to certify that such a transfer or release will not result in the release of any detainee into the United States, adversely affect the prosecution of any detainee, or otherwise pose a security risk to the U.S.

I am also working to hold the Obama administration accountable for implementing weak immigration enforcement policies that make it easier for terrorists to come to America and move about the country undetected.

All but one of the 9-11 hijackers acquired some form of a U.S. identification document. But the administration is fighting to repeal REAL ID, which makes it more difficult for illegal immigrants – including terrorists - to obtain drivers’ licenses. Instead, the Administration supports PASS ID, which weakens the REAL ID requirement that the issuance of identification documents used to obtain a driver’s license must be verified. The easier it is for illegal immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses, the more inclined they are to remain here. And, for terrorists, the easier it is to board commercial flights, rent cars and blend into American communities.

In the FY 2010 budget proposal, the administration requested no funding for development and implementation of a biometric airport exit program. Such a program is necessary to combat illegal immigration since 40% of the estimated eleven to twenty million illegal immigrants currently in the United States overstayed their non-immigrant visas. Full implementation of the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (U.S.-VISIT) program would ensure that the Federal Government knows whether people who entered the country on short-term visas return home.

As a member of the Homeland Security Committee and the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, I have worked to ensure our national security and make sure our borders and ports of entry are secure. For more information on the House Homeland Security Committee, please visit http://chs-republicans.house.gov/.

Iraq and Afghanistan
Though progress has been made, many challenges remain. The men and women in our armed forces face one of the gravest threats of our time. Each day our troops confront terrorists who hate our country, our citizens, our freedoms and our way of life. We must give our brave service men and women the resources and support they deserve. My hope and expectation is that our troops will return home as soon as possible. And I look forward to that occurrence.

I do not believe Congress should set arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal of our armed forces. That second-guesses our generals and plays into the hands of the enemy. However, I also believe we cannot become a crutch for foreign governments. They must provide for their own security as soon as possible.

More on Homeland Security

Apr 5, 2017

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the House floor Tuesday evening, Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21) spoke about the legality of surveillance of candidate and then President-elect Trump. See link to speech video and text as delivered below.

Was Surveillance of Trump Illegal?

Mar 23, 2017

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says 142 charged suspects on requested immigration detainers were released from the Travis County jail during a one-week period last month.

The releases constituted nearly 70 percent of the 206 inmates freed nationally due to denial of detainer requests by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

“This is deeply disturbing and highlights the urgent need for a statewide sanctuary city ban in Texas,” Abbott said.

Mar 8, 2017

Washington, DC – Today Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) voted to provide critical funding for our national security with his support for H.R. 1301, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2017. The bill passed 371-48.

The 21st Congressional District is home to Joint Base San Antonio-Ft. Sam Houston and over 60,000 active duty servicemembers, veterans and their families. Congressman Smith gave the following statement on the bill.

Mar 6, 2017

Washington, DC –  Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s new executive order to protect Americans from potential terrorists and criminals with stricter vetting of refugees and immigrants.

Mar 3, 2017

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent arrested an undocumented man at the Travis County Courthouse on Friday, something attorneys tell KXAN they have never seen before at the courthouse.

The man who was arrested, Juan Carlos Coronilla-Guerrero, 27, had previously been released from custody on Feb. 1, when the county’s new immigration policy went into effect.

Mar 3, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, Assessment, and Auditing Act of 2017 (H.R. 1224) this week, which examines the cybersecurity capabilities of various federal agencies and requires regular audits of their progress as more security-based initiatives are implemented.

The bill was introduced by U.S. Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Ralph Abraham (R-LA), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Barbara Comstock (R-VA) and Steve Knight (R-CA).

Feb 28, 2017

Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith gave the following statement in response to President Trump’s Joint Address.

Rep. Smith: “The President’s address tonight was a home run. How could anyone disagree with putting Americans first?

Feb 26, 2017

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith made his way to San Marcos Wednesday to visit with constituents and deliver an update on what is happening in Washington.

This is not unusual for Smith, as he visits the Record at least twice a year — even in the years, like this one, that he isn’t running for re-election. These visits are not only informative, but also greatly appreciated by the journalists and management of this newspaper. 

Feb 22, 2017

Texas Rep. Lamar Smith of Congressional District 21 made a quick stop during his off-week to speak with Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce members about a number of issues, as well as to give listeners a foretelling of immigration news to be released in the next two days.

“These certainly are historic, unprecedented times,” Smith said. “I don’t know of any president who has done more in his first 30 days — Trump has repealed 12 to 15 regulations in the last 30 days.”

Feb 21, 2017

San Antonio – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) issued the following statement in response to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly issuing enforcement memos for the agency on implementing President Trump’s border and interior executive orders.

Rep. Smith: “The American people should thank Secretary Kelly for issuing two enforcement memorandums today that overturn the dangerous immigration policies of President Obama. Secretary Kelly’s actions return the Department of Homeland Security to its central mission.