Christopher Smith

Christopher Smith

NEW JERSEY's 4th DISTRICT

Smith Statement on U.S.-Slovak Agreement to Protect Children From Sexual Exploitation

2016/09/27

Rep. Chris Smith, Chair of a House panel on Global Human Rights, released the following statement on the bilateral agreement between the United States and the Slovak Republic tofight against the sexual abuse of children:

“We welcome Slovakia into a close partnership with our Department of Homeland Security in the fight against the sexual abuse of children by known sex offenders who travel the world to abuse in secret. This agreement means greater safety for children of both the U.S. and Slovakia. It is the duty of every government to protect its weakest and most vulnerable citizens. Earlier this year, the U.S. Congress passed International Megan’s Law, legislation I authored, which among many other key provisions, urges the Administration to enter into reciprocity agreements with other nations to protect children from vicious abusers, through programs such as Angel Watch. Slovakia and the UK have led the way in Europe for law enforcement alerts and notification in advance of travel abroad by dangerous pedophiles, and we look forward to many more countries joining this critical international effort."

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<span class ="kicker">Smith Praises GCU 'Chart the Course to Graduation' Program</span>'Georgian Court University Lands Federal Grant to Keep Students on Track toward Graduation'

2016/09/27

Georgian Court University is the recipient of a new federal grant, worth more than $1.9 million over a five-year period, that will help the university expand academic support services and keep students on track for timely graduation. The award from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title III grant program is part of the federal agency’s Strengthening Institutions efforts.

The Title III grant comes about a year after GCU landed a five-year, $1.4 million federal grant for TRIO-Student Support Services, which helps students who are first in their families to attend college and may have additional academic needs.

Now, Title III funding will support Georgian Court’s Chart the Course to Graduation, an effort to strengthen retention of first-year students and improve overall college completion rates, especially among those who arrive on campus underprepared for college.

“We established Chart the Course to help students needing non-credit skills development courses get back on track to graduating, and we know from experience that this approach makes a difference in their success,” said Georgian Court University President Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D. “Additional grant funding will allow us to have even greater impact.”

A Timely Solution

      “Congratulations to President Marbach and the staff at GCU for competing for and winning this sizable grant to help fund their innovative ‘Chart the Course’ program,” said U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.

      The grant awards $425,894 to GCU in the first year. Additional funding should come in future federal budget periods through 2021.

      “GCU’s commitment to its students is commendable and with this federal funding and partnership, more students will benefit from the program and graduate on time,” said Rep. Smith. “As federal student loan borrowing has skyrocketed, programs such as ‘Chart the Course’ support students graduating on time, and play a role in addressing this critical problem.”

    GCU’s Chart the Course to Graduation offers:

·         Free 3-credit courses during winter and summer sessions to qualified students

·         Professional tutoring services in GCU’s math lab and new writing center

·         Enhanced faculty advising to strengthen student success

·         Additional peer mentoring        

“Making sure our students take enough courses for credit and persist from their first year of college to their second year is critical,” added Dr. Marbach. Higher education research shows that students who do not complete 15 credits after their first semester, or 30 credits by the end of their first year of college, run the risk of not graduating in a timely manner.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the median time it took for 2008 bachelor’s degree recipients to earn their degree was 52 months. Forty-four percent of them completed a bachelor’s degree within 48 months of enrolling in college, and another 23 percent graduated within 49–60 months.

A Model for Success

    In December 2014, GCU launched Chart the Course to help students graduate on time. During the pilot program, 43 students took Introduction to Psychology, Contemporary Economics, or U.S. History during the winter break—at no charge. They also had the support of faculty advisors, success coaches, and peer tutors—in person and via Google Hangouts—while enrolled in the program.

    The results were highly successful: Chart the Course participants had a retention rate of 86 percent. The retention rate for other students who qualified for Chart the Course, but chose not to participate, was 48 percent.

    Last year, University Business magazine named Chart the Course a “Model of Excellence.” The national recognition program honors colleges and universities that have implemented innovative, effective, and interdepartmental initiatives that bolster student success.

    “Our continued efforts to improve retention are showing progress,” said GCU Provost William J. Behre, Ph.D., one of the grant’s co-authors. He noted that GCU’s first- to second-year retention rate is nearly 85 percent, up from about 70 percent three years ago.

    “We are proud of our success, but this grant will help us become a national exemplar, so that greater number of students who attend college will also complete college,” he said. “Starting, but not finishing, takes the greatest financial toll.

    “College affordability is a huge issue nationally,” said Dr. Behre. “Helping students graduate on time contains costs, and helps them avoid the expense of being in college any longer than necessary. At GCU, we are committed to doing everything we can to help students make the most of their time and their money.”

This release can be found online at:
http://georgian.edu/georgian-court-university-lands-federal-grant-keep-students-track-toward-graduation/

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court expands possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 33 undergraduate majors and more than 10 graduate programs. In 2015, GCU was named #25 among MONEY® magazine’s “Top 50 Colleges That Add the Most Value” and a Best Bang for the Buck School by Washington Monthly. GCU has also been recognized by The Economist and Colleges of Distinction and is a Military Friendly® School. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at Hazlet, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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CAR President Touadéra, Smith Work Together on Reconstruction Support

2016/09/27

In a meeting yesterday with U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Central African Republic (CAR) President Faustin-Archange Touadéra thanked him for the critical U.S. support for his country thus far. Touadéra also asked Smith, Chairman of the House panel on Africa, for sustained U.S. support as his country seeks to restore democracy in the wake of still-smoldering civil conflict.

     CAR has endured two destructive conflicts since 2004, including an ongoing civil war that began in 2012. One of the key issues facing the CAR government is the reintegration of ex-combatants, who were often recruited as children and face a very high rate of unemployment once they lay down their arms. With no other options available they often return to combat or banditry as a way to feed their families.

     Disarmament of combatants is a critical element in restoring lasting order, but there must be an effort to provide education, training and support for ex-combatants so they can reintegrate into society,” said Smith. “Communities also will need support to create jobs for those no longer involved in combat. I suggested to President Touadéra that he consider a program like our GI Bill, which helped thousands of returning veterans and was instrumental in creating an expanded middle class here in the United States after World War II, and focus on microfinance, as it is a proven way for impoverished people to bootstrap themselves to a better life via entrepreneurship, at minimal investment.”

     President Touadéra, who campaigned as a peacemaker and was sworn in earlier this year after winning the second round of the October 2015 election, asked for international support, especially from the United States, for securing a lasting peace so that police and military forces could provide for basic security. Currently, there remain areas of the country where rebel activity prevents the provision of state services to citizens, such as electricity, roads and water. The CAR leader said stability will allow for government reforms to be made and corruption to be eliminated.

     Smith, who has chaired three hearings on the Central African Republic with the most recent being titled “Ridding Central Africa of Joseph Kony: Continuing U.S. Support,” has spoken with officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development and received assurances of cooperation with the CAR government on issues of mutual concern.

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<span class ="kicker">***Smith Helps Kick Off NJ Alzheimer's Event ***</span>Hundreds of Advocates Walk to End Alzheimer’s

2016/09/25

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) helped launch the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” event at Veterans Park in Hamilton today, thanking the hundreds of walkers and volunteers for turning out to support the event.

  Smith, co-founder and co-chair of the House of Representatives Alzheimer’s Caucus, was invited by the host Alzheimer’s Association to welcome walkers and speak about the fight to stop a disease that in New Jersey  claims an estimated 170,000 victims who suffer from this form of dementia, and impacts more than 400,000 family members who are caregivers. More than 5.4 million suffer across the country of Alzheimer’s.

  “Everyone who came out here today is playing a role in the war against a disease which ravages people and their families,” said Smith. “Friends, families and even some who have Alzheimer themselves. We must pursue a full court press in the battles for research, awareness and funding. We want to see a path to prevention, treatment, and someday, hopefully, a cure.”

    Smith announced that his bill, the “Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act,” has earned the bipartisan support of a monumental 300-plus members of Congress. Smith, co-founder and co-chairman of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, introduced HOPE to provide Medicare coverage for a care planning session for patients newly-diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, family caregivers or legal representatives. He also spoke about his bill Kevin and Avonte’s Law House, HR 4919, which he hopes will move in the House this fall.  

    The HOPE Act would provide coverage of a care planning session for Medicare beneficiaries where the individual, their caregiver or legal representative will receive information about medical and non-medical treatments to plan for their future care. A similar proposal was recently proposed by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a temporary one-year trial.

PHOTO: Alzheimer’s patient Jeff Borghoff speaks with Rep. Smith about his experience with living with Alzheimer’s Disease.

      Mary Gerard, of Ocean Township in Smith’s district, was pleased with the turnout. The primary caregiver for her mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s for more than eight years before succumbing, Gerard said, “We’re happy that Chris Smith could come and talk to our walkers about the HOPE Act bill and the Kevin and Avonte’s Law. He’s the leader in the House.”

      Catie Macklin, Executive Director of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, which ran the event, said the turnout from volunteer walkers was impressive.

    “It was huge to hear from Chris Smith about HOPE and Kevin and Avonte’s Law,” Macklin said. “It’s a lovely fall day for our incredible supports who walked today.”

    Not only would the care planning benefit authorized in the HOPE Act improve health outcomes for Alzheimer’s patients, it is also expected to mitigate huge, unnecessary costs associated with preventable trips to hospitals and emergency rooms. This is especially important given the state of Medicare and Alzheimer’s place as the most expensive disease in America.

      Smith said the Kevin and Avonte’s bill will reauthorize and expand an existing program, the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program, to include children with a developmental disability—such as autism—and rename it the “Missing Americans Alert Program.”

      Wandering, which is also referred to as elopement, occurs when an individual leaves a safe area or a caretaker. Wandering is a safety concern for both seniors with Alzheimer’s and children with autism. It is estimated that 60 percent of individuals with Alzheimer’s and 49 percent of children with autism have wandered and we know that the results can be devastating: The legislation is named in honor of two boys with autism, Kevin Curtis and Avonte Oquendo, who both wandered from safety and tragically drowned.

    According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2016 alone, direct costs to American society of caring for those with Alzheimer’s will total an estimated $236 billion, with just under half of the costs borne by Medicare. A cost estimate commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Association and conducted by Healthsperien, a Washington, D.C.-based health care consulting firm, indicated that as a result of Smith’s legislation, net federal health spending would decrease by $692 million over the 10-year period.

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Smith Statement on 9/11 Victims Veto

2016/09/23

Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) released the following statement on President Obama's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (S. 2040):

     For those who have lost loved ones on 9/11 time has not diminished the suffering, nor has it brought accountability to those responsible and, certainly, has not brought closure. The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act will change that, to some degree, by overturning the legal barriers that have stood between the victims and the justice they rightly seek from foreign governments and individuals suspected of financing the 9/11 attacks.

     In spite of the overwhelming bipartisan support of this legislation—not a single Senator or Representative opposed the bill—the President has chosen to side with those who aided in perpetrating the worst terrorist attack in American history rather than the victims who seek closure. The President’s veto is another disappointing example of this Administration putting foreign interest over people. I call on my colleagues across the aisle and across the building to stand by your convictions and overturn this veto so that this important legislation can become law.

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<span class ="kicker">Sept. 22 Trenton Times News Article</span>'Congressman Chris Smith announces $91K grant for domestic violence group'

2016/09/22

By Greg Wright | For NJ.com The Times, Trenton -
 
One day before the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Violence Against Women Act, the Hamilton-based New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence learned it was to be the recipient of $91,641 in grant funding.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.) visited New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence (NJCEDV) last week where he announced the awarding of the grant.

The funding grant program was established in the Victims of Trafficking and Protection Act of 2000, of which Smith was the prime sponsor, which provided the first reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Nicole Morella Cristina Williams Catherine Hernesh.jpg
Rep. Chris Smith (left) stands with the NJCEDV's Nicole Morella (mid left), Assistant Communication Director Cristina Williams (mid right) and Community and Education Program Manager Catherine Hernesh (right) stand together after the grant announcement. (contributed photo) (Greg Wright | Times of Trenton)

"(NJCEDV is) the first line of defense for victims — helping to ensure women and their children can access resources and have a place to go to safely escape abuse." Smith said. "Their dedication and commitment... plays a key role in our fight to end these crimes and the exploitation of women and children that remains all too prevalent in our modern day society."

"This is significant funding for us," Nicole Morella, the agency's Director of Public Policy and Communications, said.

Hamilton firefighters get $140K for new gear

Hamilton firefighters get $140K for new gear

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith helped the fire district secure the grant

New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence (NJCEDV) is a statewide coalition of 30 domestic violence programs with the mission of ending domestic violence in New Jersey by advocating for survivors of domestic violence, collaborating with state agencies and member programs, and providing education and training.

The money represents 5 percent of NJCEDV's grant-based operations budget, says Morella. Without the grant members of the agency would have to divert time and energy from helping victims to raising the money themselves.

"Over 90 percent of our budget is grant based," Morella said. "While we do receive other funding, much of it is tied up in other projects and funding streams with limited flexibility."

Now, rather than spending time and resources raising the funds, Morella says, NJCEDV plans to put the money use by creating a new data gathering process that will help identify and then prioritize underserved communities across the state.

Mercer County represents a unique challenge as the area is home to many different demographics — each with cultural differences that necessitates the need for varying methods of outreach and solutions, Morella says.

"Certain dynamics create barriers to escape and to become self-sufficient afterwards," she said. Those barriers can be anything from language differences to lack of access to technology.

"Having the opportunity to maintain this grant will be instrumental in our ability to continue to develop our capacity building and improve access to underserved communities," she said.

Greg Wright may be reached at gwright@njadvancemedia.com.

This story originally ran on the cover of page 1 in the Sept. 22 print edition of the Trenton Times and was posted online at:
http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2016/09/rep_smith_announces_91k_grant_for_domestic_violenc.html

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Witnesses Unanimously Champion Smith Legislation Providing Relief to Victims, Accountability for Perpetrators

2016/09/22

At a hearing convened today by Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), witnesses unanimously expressed support for Smith’s recently introduced Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2016 (H.R. 5961), bipartisan legislation that provides relief to victims of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Iraq and Syria, and accountability for perpetrators.  

     “The atrocities in Iraq and Syria have been so horrible, for so long, with so little action from the Administration, that it has been difficult to hope. Nevertheless, when [Secretary Kerry] declared genocide, we dared to hope that finally the Administration would hear the voices of the victims and act. Instead, the Administration has said the right words and done the wrong things,” said Smith.

     “Displaced genocide survivors cannot pay for food, medicine, or shelter with words from Washington,” Smith continued.  “When the Executive Branch fails to act, then Congress must require it to act. That is why I recently authored and introduced the bipartisan Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2016, with Representative Anna Eshoo [CA-18] as my lead cosponsor.” Click here to read Smith’s statement.

    [To watch the hearing, click on the video below and advance player 52 minutes to the 10:02 a.m. mark.]

     Witnesses discussed ways to support religious and ethnic communities that have survived such atrocities. In addition, they encouraged the U.S. to fund the criminal investigation, prosecution, and conviction of the perpetrators, and identified gaps in U.S. criminal statutes that make it difficult to prosecute Americans or foreigners in the U.S. who have committed such crimes.

     Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues David Scheffer said, “H.R. 5961 demonstrates an undeniable logic: the survivors of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Iraq and Syria merit the fullest possible assistance of our government, including consideration of admission of victim refugees to the United States.”

     “The perpetrators of atrocity crimes not only in Iraq and Syria but elsewhere in the world should be subject to investigation and prosecution,” Scheffer continued. “Federal jurisdiction over crimes against humanity and war crimes remains non-existent or very limited…it is a raw fact that the United States is currently a sanctuary for alien perpetrators of crimes against humanity or war crimes.” Click here to read Scheffer’s statement.

     “The Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief Act [is] a much needed, not to mention overdue, piece of legislation,” said Chris Engels, deputy director of the Commission for International Justice and Accountability. “Criminal investigations done contemporaneously with the criminal acts are essential to ensuring later accountability. Otherwise, as we have seen in the past, evidence is lost and those responsible for these mass human rights violations go unpunished.” Click here to read Engels’ statement.

     Witnesses also highlighted the humanitarian vulnerabilities and lack of assistance that force the survivors to flee their homes and recommended ways to support entities effectively serving genocide survivors in-country, including faith-based organizations.

     Steve Rasche, legal counsel and director of resettlement programs for the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil, noted, “Since August 2014, other than initial supplies of tents and tarps, the Christian community in Iraq has received nothing in aid from any U.S. aid agencies or the UN. When we have approached any of these entities regarding the provision of aid assistance …we have been told that we have done too well in our private efforts…every morning we wake up and rob six Peters to pay 12 Pauls.” Click here to read Rasche’s statement.

     “The current policy prioritizes individual needs but does not consider the needs of vulnerable communities,” said Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus. “On one hand, we have the unanimous policy of the elected branches of the United States Government stating that a genocide is occurring. On the other hand we have an aid bureaucracy that is allowing the intended consequence of the genocide to continue, even though it is in our power to stop it.”

     “There is nothing unconstitutional, illegal, unethical or unprofessional about prioritizing their right to survival as a community,” Anderson added, referring to Christian and other communities that face extinction in Iraq and Syria. Click here to read Anderson’s statement.

     Bill Canny, executive director for migration and refugee services at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said, “We are gravely concerned by the small number of religious minorities who have been resettled in the United States during the current fiscal year.”

     “It is unclear at the time of this writing precisely why the percentage of Syrian Christians, who have been registered as refugees or resettled in the United States as refugees, is so low,” Canny continued. “It is clear, however, that Christians and other religious minorities have become a target for brutality at the hands of the non-state actor ISIS, and that they are fleeing for their lives, and that far too few of them have been attaining U.S. resettlement.” USCCB resettles more refugees annually in the U.S. than any other agency. Click here to read Canny’s statement.

     In 2013, ISIS began its brutal campaign of extermination and expulsion in Syria, expanding to Iraq in 2014. Many of those who survived these atrocities have been joining the flood of refugees streaming out of the region to Europe and other areas of safety. Resolving their plight is a key component to helping address the refugee crisis and has been of intense interest to countries in the OSCE region.

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<span class ="kicker">***FEMA Fire Grant Workshop Planned***</span>Set for Sept. 23 for Firefighters and EMS of 4th Congressional District

2016/09/22

At the request and in conjunction with Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), the Federal Emergency Management Agency will hold a firefighters and EMS grant workshop at 11 a.m. on Friday, September 23 at the Jackson Mills Fire House (Station 54), just off I-195 in Jackson Township.  The purpose of the workshop will be to help fire officials gain important tips for successfully competing for FEMA grants.

     “This is an excellent grant program and the application period for 2016 funding is expected to open in a few weeks,” said Smith, who helped create the grants as a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.  “I encourage fire companies looking for federal funding to attend the workshop to find out the latest information straight from FEMA. Many fire districts from across my congressional district have benefited from FEMA firefighting and EMS grants, and I’d like to see that continue. I can assist applicants in the process, and the first step is encouraging fire districts to apply. A new grant application period will open in October and I’d like to see as many fire companies as possible poised to apply.”

  • Who: FEMA representative, NJ-04 congressional staff; open to all firefighters
  • What: Informational workshop for upcoming open grant period on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program
  • When: Friday, Sept. 23 @ 11a.m.

   To find the official Notice of Funding Opportunity and other helpful information, visit http://www.fema.gov/welcome-assistance-firefighters-grant-program under the “Breaking News” tab. There, you will also be able to find other resources such as the 2016 application for this year and application guidance materials, which includes such aids as a cost share calculator, application checklist and Get Ready Guide.

   “My district stretches from the Delaware River to the Jersey Shore, and this firehouse is centrally located and hopefully accessible to most firefighters from the area,” said Smith, who helped create the grant program in 2000 as a member of the Fire Services Caucus. “I am grateful to the Fire Commissioners, especially Commissioner Brian Ruditsky,  Chief  Michael Lubertazzi and Union President Rich Leonard for agreeing to host this workshop.”

Directions to Workshop:

  The Jackson Mills firehouse is located just one mile and less than 2 minutes off I-195’s Exit 22. Eastbound travelers should bear right and south onto Jackson Mills Road after exiting I-195. Westbound travelers should take a left at the stop sign at the Exit 22 ramp, heading south on Jackson Mills Road. Drivers should take a left at the first traffic light on to North County Line Road. The firehouse is ahead on the right before the Burger King.

     The Fourth Congressional District encompasses 44 municipalities and includes parts of Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties. Municipalities in the Fourth District include:

Mercer County - Hamilton and Robbinsville;

Ocean County - Bay Head, Jackson, Lakewood, Lakehurst, Manchester, Point Pleasant Beach, portions of Point Pleasant Borough and Plumsted, and;

Monmouth County - Allentown, Avon-By-The-Sea, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Brielle, Colts Neck, Eatontown, Englishtown, Fair Haven, Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Holmdel, Howell, Lake Como, Little Silver, Manalapan, Manasquan, portions of Middletown, Millstone, Neptune City, Neptune Township, Ocean Township, Red Bank, Roosevelt, Rumson, Sea Girt, Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury Township, Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights, Tinton Falls, Upper Freehold and Wall.

   The seminar is free and RSVP is requested. It will begin promptly at 11 a.m. and last for one hour, to be followed by a question-and-answer period. For more information contact Smith’s Constituent Service Centers, in Hamilton at (609) 585-7878, Ocean County at (609) 286-2571 or Freehold at (732) 780-3035.

The most updated version of this release can be found at:

http://chrissmith.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=399714

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SMITH BILL TO HELP BRING CONVICTED CRIMINALS LIVING ABROAD TO JUSTICE PASSES MARKUP

2016/09/22

A bill that strengthens the ability of the United States to secure extradition of wanted fugitives and bring them home to face justice, sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Global Human Rights and International Organizations, today cleared a first and important hurdle and was adopted by the Subcommittee. The bill has 20 bipartisan co-sponsors—10 Republicans and 10 Democrats—and has now been referred to the full Committee for consideration.

     The Walter Patterson and Werner Foerster Justice and Extradition Act (H.R. 2189) is named after the innocent victims of two of the most infamous criminals in modern U.S. history—both of whom live openly abroad. It requires the President to provide Congress with an annual study on important aspects of U.S. extradition policy, assisting Congress as it takes action to address outstanding issues in the extradition system. Currently the President’s management of the extradition system is largely opaque to congressional oversight and hence resistant to reform—H.R. 2189 takes a big step toward changing that.

     “In many cases around the world, efforts to extradite convicted criminals have simply stalled, leaving surviving families without closure and our efforts to seek justice in limbo,” said Smith. Instead of continuing to allow violent criminals to live openly abroad—apparently outside of our government’s reach—we must strengthen the Executive Branch’s ability to take action to successfully resolve extradition cases. That the murderers of Walter Patterson and Werner Foerster live openly abroad is an ongoing offense against the surviving family members of the men they murdered.” Click here to read Smith’s statement.

     Walter Patterson was brutally killed in the course of a robbery by George Wright, who was convicted of murder, escaped prison, allegedly hijacked a commercial jetliner, and disappeared, only to be found living openly in Portugal, which  has denied extradition. Werner Foerster was a New Jersey state trooper shot during a routine traffic stop by terrorist Joanne Chesimard, who was convicted of murder, escaped prison, and made her way to Cuba, where she lives as a guest of the Cuban government—along with other fugitives the Cuban government refuses to return to the U.S.

     Smith is one of the foremost voices in the fight to return escaped fugitives to face U.S. justice. Since the discovery of George Wright in Portugal in 2012, he has held several meetings with and written to Portuguese government officials and corresponded with the Department of Justice on their efforts to secure the return of fugitives. In 2012, he chaired a hearing entitled “Justice in the International Extradition System: The Case of George Wright and Beyond.”

     H.R. 2189 enjoys the support of a diverse coalition of advocacy organizations, including Concerns of Police Survivors, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Organization for Victim Assistance, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the American Bail Coalition.

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<span class ="kicker">The Record News Article on Smith Legislation</span>'Bill would require White House to prepare reports on fugitives, like Chesimard'

2016/09/22

By HERB JACKSON
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT | 
The Record -
 
A House committee takes up a bill today, sparked by outrage over relaxed restrictions on Cuba, that would require the White House to tell Congress what it is doing to extradite killers who have fled the United States.
Joanne Chesimard
 
AP FILE PHOTO
Joanne Chesimard

The bill is named in honor of Walter Patterson and Werner Foerster, victims of killers who escaped New Jersey prisons and are believed to be living in Portugal and Cuba.

New Jersey officials have demanded that President Obama’s administration direct Cuba to return Joanne Chesimard, now known as Assata Shakur, who fled to the island after being broken out of the state women’s prison in Clinton. She was serving time for killing Foerster, a New Jersey state trooper, in 1973.

The bill also says Portugal’s refusal to extradite George Wright has caused suffering for family and friends of Patterson. Wright was convicted of murder in 1962 and escaped Bayside State Prison for Portugal in 1970.

Sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., the bill would require the administration to prepare annual reports to Congress about how many fugitives are living in other countries, what diplomatic efforts are being made to get their return, how long the efforts are taking and what the barriers are.

The first report would be due within 270 days of enactment, meaning if the bill passes, it would apply to the next president and not Obama.

The measure will be considered this afternoon by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where Smith is a subcommittee chairman.

This article was published on Page 3 of the Bergen Record and can be found online at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/nj-state-news/bill-would-require-white-house-to-prepare-reports-on-fugitives-1.1664722

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Rep. Smith urges support for our 'Jersey Girls' and other 9/11 families

2016-09-09 18:26:34


House Passes Smith's Bill to Give Gold Star Families a Voice

2016-09-06 20:44:55


Rep. Smith opening statement on the Goldman Report

2016-07-14 20:23:01


Rep. Chris Smith: Brazil a textbook case for sanctions

2016-07-14 19:30:46


Rep. Chris Smith: Bindu Philips' Kids Should Come Home

2016-07-14 19:03:31


Rep. Smith on the Conscience Protection Act

2016-07-13 17:35:57


President Obama's epic failure of diplomacy in Vietnam

2016-06-22 19:20:17


Less than 1% of Iraqis & Syrians resettled in US are Christian

2016-06-22 18:20:53


Religious Freedom deserves protection everywhere for everyone- no exceptions

2016-06-17 21:25:35


Rep. Chris Smith on Jobs for Individuals with Autism and Special Needs

2016-05-19 21:48:57


Rep. Chris Smith at the passage of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act

2016-05-16 22:54:37


Rep. Chris Smith on America's Human Rights Leadership in Asia

2016-04-28 16:34:27


Rep. Chris Smith Takes Aim at Global Hunger

2016-04-13 13:44:56


Chris Smith on BBC World News: ISIS Genocide Against Christians and Yazidis

2016-03-21 19:34:19


Rep. Chris Smith condemning organ harvesting from prisoners in China

2016-03-16 20:29:00


Chris Smith on stopping President Obama's handover of Guantanamo Bay

2016-03-16 20:18:10


Establish a Syrian War Crimes Tribunal

2016-03-16 07:09:39


U.S. House Passes Bill Urging New Syrian War Crimes Tribunal

2016-03-15 21:06:23


Top Obama Admin Official Doesn’t Know Where Iran’s Enriched Uranium has been sent

2016-02-12 20:52:18


Rep. Chris Smith on International Megan's Law at final passage

2016-02-02 20:37:48


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2373 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3765
Fax 202-225-7768
chrissmith.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Foreign Affairs

Elected in 1980, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Robbinsville, N.J.) is currently in his 17th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serves residents in the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. Smith, 60, currently serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee. In 2011-2012 he chaired both the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also serves as “Special Representative” on Human Trafficking for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and as an executive member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Veterans Committee (two terms) and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Africa.

Smith has long chaired a number of bipartisan congressional caucuses (working groups) including the Pro-life (31 years), Autism (15 years), Alzheimer’s (13 years), Lyme Disease (nineyears), Spina Bifida (nine years), Human Trafficking (nine years), Refugees (nine years), and Combating Anti-Semitism caucuses, and serves on caucuses on Bosnia, Uganda and Vietnam.

According to the independent watchdog organization Govtrack, as of January 2014 Smith ranks fourth among all 435 Members of the House over the last two decades in the number of laws authored.

He is the author of America’s three landmark anti-human trafficking laws including The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a comprehensive law designed to prevent modern-day slavery, protect victims, and enhance civil and criminal penalties against traffickers, as well as more than a dozen veterans health, education and homeless benefits laws, and laws to boost embassy security, promote democracy, religious freedom, and health care.

Smith is the author of the $265 million Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 which established a nationwide program for ethical research and treatment using umbilical cord blood and bone marrow cells. That landmark law was reauthorized in September 2010 for another five years.
In October 2011, Smith’s bill, HR 2005, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011, was signed into law (Public Law PL112-32), a follow-up to his Autism Statistics, Surveillance, Research, and Epidemiology Act (ASSURE) of 2000.

A lifelong New Jerseyan, Congressman Smith graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in business administration. Prior to being elected to Congress, he helped run a small business– his family’s wholesale sporting goods corporation. He is also the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Right to Life Committee.

The congressman is married to his wife of 35 years, Marie, and they have four grown children.


Serving With

Frank LoBiondo

NEW JERSEY's 2nd DISTRICT

Tom MacArthur

NEW JERSEY's 3rd DISTRICT

Scott Garrett

NEW JERSEY's 5th DISTRICT

Leonard Lance

NEW JERSEY's 7th DISTRICT

Rodney Frelinghuysen

NEW JERSEY's 11th DISTRICT

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