Congressman Lamar Smith

Representing the 21st District of Texas
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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:

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.


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.


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.

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

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.

Jan 26, 2018

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) issued the following statement in response to the framework on immigration reform released by the White House.  

Jan 10, 2018

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the House floor Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21) spoke on how Congress should include an E-Verify employment verification program in any immigration reform package.



Dec 6, 2017

Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) gave the following statement on his vote in support of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (H.R. 38). Congressman Smith is an original co-sponsor of the legislation. The bill passed in the House by a vote of 231-198.

Rep. Smith: “As a carrier of a Concealed Handgun License, I support this bill that allows for citizens with concealed carry permits to carry a concealed firearm in other states so long as the other state doesn’t prohibit it. 

Dec 5, 2017

Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith gave the following statement commenting on the SECURE Act which was introduced today in the Senate.

Rep. Smith: “I appreciate the efforts by my colleagues in the Senate to strengthen our immigration laws.

“The SECURE Act helps reduce illegal immigration by boosting border security and interior enforcement and ensures that the biometric entry-exit program is finally implemented to track visa overstayers. It also reduces chain migration by prioritizing immediate family members of U.S. residents.

Nov 9, 2017

Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) gave the following statement in response to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) announcing he will not seek re-election in 2018.

Rep. Smith: “Chairman Goodlatte is an ideal member of Congress. He is smart, persistent and always maintains a positive attitude. It’s been an honor to serve with him in the Judiciary Committee. I look forward to continuing working with him over the next 14 months on policies that keep Americans safe and uphold the rule of law.”

Oct 25, 2017

WASHINGTON – Today, legislation authored and introduced by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to save jobs for American workers and reduce illegal immigration passed the House Judiciary Committee. The Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 3711) requires U.S.

Oct 8, 2017

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) issued the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s immigration priorities.  

Congressman Smith: “I support the priorities in President Trump’s immigration reform outline. We need to know who's coming into the country. We need to save jobs for American workers. We need to protect American taxpayers. We need to have immigrants respect our laws and we need to keep our communities safe from criminal immigrants.

Oct 5, 2017

Speech delivered by Chairman Lamar Smith on the House floor on October 5, 2017

Within minutes of the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, Democrats and the liberal media called for more gun control measures. 

A recent Washington Post op-ed describes how one gun control advocate researched restrictive gun laws in Great Britain and in Australia only to discover that gun buybacks and gun bans did not reduce mass shootings or gun-related crimes.

Oct 3, 2017

Washington, DC –  Today Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) voted in support of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), which restricts abortions 20 weeks or more after fertilization. Specifically, H.R. 36 establishes criminal penalties for any person who performs or attempts an abortion on a fetus after the 20-week mark. In addition, this bill provides exceptions to save the life of the mother, and in the case of rape or incest.