Congressman Lamar Smith

Representing the 21st District of Texas
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Smith Statement on Closure of Illegal Immigrant Shelter at Lackland Air Force Base

Aug 4, 2014
Press Release

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement in response to news that several shelters for illegal immigrants on military bases, including Lackland Air Force Base, are expected to close in the coming weeks.

Congressman Lamar Smith: “I’m glad to hear that the Obama administration plans to stop housing illegal immigrants at military facilities like Lackland Air Force Base. Were it not for the president’s policies, these facilities would never have had to house the thousands who have come across our Southern border. Now he must also act to address the root of the problems along the border- his own policies. In addition to ending the use of military bases as shelters, the president should focus on enforcing current immigration laws rather than threatening new actions outside of his authority.

“Many Americans support the common-sense provisions within the House bills that we passed last week, and an overwhelming majority do not think the president is doing a good job of handling immigration issues. I hope the president will listen to the American people and act today to enforce current immigration laws and prevent further increases in the border surge.”

The House package that passed on Friday prohibits housing unauthorized immigrants on military bases if doing so will displace active duty military personnel or interfere with military activities at the installation. It also includes language to end the expansion of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. It would also close loopholes in existing laws and allow Central American minors to be treated the same as Canadian and Mexican minors with regard to expedited deportations. A recent Associated Press- GfK Public Affairs poll showed that a majority of participants favored changing current law so that illegal immigrants from other countries are treated the same as those from Mexico or Canada, which can be sent back to their home countries without a deportation hearing.

Smith also recently sent a letter to President Obama listing actions he could immediately take to improve the situation along the border. The letter was signed by all 24 Texas Republican Members of the House of Representatives and both Senators.