Congressman Lamar Smith

Representing the 21st District of Texas
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Judiciary

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Congressman Smith is the former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and serves on the immigration and intellectual property subcommittees.

For more information on the House Committee on the Judiciary, please go to: https://judiciary.house.gov/

The House Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing to examine Congressman Smith's "Legal Workforce Act," which requires businesses to use E-verify: PDF iconRep. Smith Statement on the Legal Workforce Act.pdf

112th Congress

During the 112th Congress, more than one thousand bills were referred to the Committee on issues ranging from terrorism, crime and immigration to constitutional amendments, civil liberties and federal regulations.  Under Chairman Smith’s leadership, the House Judiciary Committee approved more substantive bills that became law than any other Committee in the House of Representatives.  The Judiciary Committee is not only a workhorse, but also a watch dog.  During Chairman Smith’s tenure, the Committee held 111 oversight hearings of the Department of Justice, the FBI and other federal government agencies. Congressman Smith was the first Texas Republican to serve as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Patent Reform

Congressman Smith authored the most significant update to our nation’s patent reform in the last 60 years.  The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act was approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and signed into law on September 16, 2011.  The bill brings our nation’s patent system into the 21st century, enabling better patents to be approved more quickly and reducing frivolous litigation.  The Patent Reform Act updates current law to better protect intellectual property, enhance patent quality and increase public confidence in the integrity of patents. These reforms will help the innovators and job creators of today launch the products and businesses of tomorrow.

In 2011, Congressman Smith was named Policymaker of the Year by POLITICO for his work on patent reform legislation. He was one of two House members to receive this honor. His bill, the America Invents Act, was the only major tech legislation enacted in the last Congress.

Immigration

America has the most generous immigration system in the world, admitting one million legal immigrants each year.  This generosity should continue.  But while we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws.  We could improve our nation’s immigration system simply by enforcing current laws. 

In 2010, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office found that only 6.5% of the U.S.-Mexico border was under full control of the Border Patrol.  And, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, as many as 40% of illegal immigrants come to the U.S. legally but overstay their visas. We must do more to secure our border and enforce immigration laws.

Unfortunately, the immigration proposal that was approved earlier this year by the Senate lacks meaningful enforcement.  The bill legalizes 11 million illegal immigrants before it secures the border.  That will only encourage more illegal immigration.

The House of Representatives is taking a better approach by supporting enforcement-first policies.  The Judiciary Committee, on which I serve, has approved bills that increase interior enforcement, save jobs for legal workers, and create guest and skilled worker programs.   In July of this year, the Committee passed The Legal Workforce Act, which I introduced to make it harder for illegal immigrants to take jobs away from legal workers.  The bill requires employers to use the federal government’s employment verification system to ensure that new hires are legally authorized to work in the U.S.  A recent Gallup poll found that 85% of likely voters think businesses should be required to use this system. 

Citizenship is the highest honor our country can bestow.  It should be reserved for those who have followed the law and come in the right way.

Regulations

According to the Small Business Administration, regulations cost the American economy $1.75 trillion annually.  We need to encourage businesses to expand, not tie them up with red tape.

In 2011, Congressman Smith sponsored three bills to reduce regulations and red tape for businesses.  The REINS Act, Regulatory Accountability Act, and Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act were all approved by the House of Representatives.  The bills place meaningful limits on federal agency regulations, including regulations from the EPA that harm small businesses and job growth.  Each of the bills lowers the cost of regulations and provides additional oversight to the regulatory process. For example, the REINS Act (HR 10) requires Congress to take an up-or-down vote on government regulations with an economic impact of at least $100 million before they can be imposed on the American people and businesses.  In 2012, Congressman Smith cosponsored the Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act, a bill to place a moratorium on all major federal regulations.

If we lift the burden on small businesses, we can free them up to spend more, invest more, and produce more in order to create more jobs for American workers.

Crime
 
Families in many communities across the nation are affected by rising crime rates. Whether its violent gang members on the streets or child predators, more must be done to keep our families, communities and children safe from crime.

Congressman Smith supports tough penalties to keep dangerous criminals off our streets and to deter crime by would-be offenders. Congress must provide effective tools to our state and local law enforcement officials, who are our first defense against violent gangs, drug traffickers, and child predators.

Congress also must ensure that federal criminal penalties are imposed consistently so that similarly-situated offenders are treated in the same manner.

Congressman Smith also believes that protecting the rights of crime victims who play a key role in bringing offenders to justice must be a priority for lawmakers.

More on Judiciary

Jul 12, 2018

Speech delivered by Chairman Lamar Smith on the House floor on July 12, 2018

When it comes to immigration policies, a recent poll shows that the American people are far closer to President Trump than to the liberal media.

The results of a Harvard-Harris poll by Mark Penn, a former Hillary Clinton strategist, came up with surprising results considering what you’ve heard from the media.  

Jul 11, 2018

American politicians, religious leaders, and lay citizens have offered comment on the connection between biblical teachings and immigration issues.

Many have used their interpretation of the Bible to endorse open borders and amnesty for illegal immigrants in the country. There is just one problem that plagues these claims: The Bible contains numerous passages that do not support amnesty and instead support the rule of law.

Jul 9, 2018

Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States.  

Jun 27, 2018

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) today opposed the “compromise” Border Security and Immigration Reform Act. The bill was defeated by a vote of 121-301.

Rep. Smith: “This bill means more amnesty and less enforcement. It gives amnesty to millions and will lead to the widespread use of fraudulent documents to obtain amnesty. The bill also allows millions of illegal immigrants to stop their deportation simply by claiming they are eligible for amnesty.

Jun 27, 2018

When Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, it was hailed as a victory for border security in exchange for an amnesty that addressed illegal immigration. For the first time in our nation’s history, Congress made it a federal crime to employ undocumented workers. At that time, everyone — Democrats and Republicans — believed that Congress had finally solved the problem of illegal immigration by cutting off the “jobs” magnet.

Jun 26, 2018

Washington, DC –  Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court upholding President Trump’s executive action that strengthened vetting of immigrants who come from countries that have been designated as a security threat.

Rep. Smith: “As the Supreme Court ruled, President Trump’s executive order is fully within the president’s power under our country’s immigration laws.

Jun 21, 2018

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) gave the following statement on his vote in support of the Securing America’s Future Act (H.R. 4760).

Rep. Smith: “The Securing America’s Future Act secures our borders, implements workforce verification to end the illegal jobs magnet, reduces chain immigration, bolsters interior enforcement, and prevents abuse of our asylum laws. 

Jun 14, 2018

WASHINGTON – Congressman Smith issued the following response to the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on FBI action ahead of the 2016 election and their handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State:

May 10, 2018

It’s time for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to be restrained. The process is tainted, which should limit, if not end, the investigation.

There is a legal term called “fruit of the poisonous tree.” If the evidence, or tree, is tainted, then anything gained from the evidence — the fruit — is tainted as well.

Feb 26, 2018

Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith gave the following statement on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) updated mission statement. Last year the House Judiciary Committee approved a similar revised mission statement as part of legislation to reauthorize USCIS.