Goodlatte & Gowdy Call on President to Place Temporary Travel Ban on Foreign Nationals Entering the U.S. From Ebola-Ravaged Countries
Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) today wrote to President Barack Obama calling on him to use the authority granted to him by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act to temporarily ban foreign nationals who were recently in an Ebola-ravaged country from traveling to the United States. The House Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the Immigration and Nationality Act, which grants the President this authority. In addition, Chairman Goodlatte plans to introduce a resolution calling on the President to implement a temporary travel moratorium.
Below is the text of the letter.
“We write regarding your solemn duty as the President of the United States to take every step possible to protect the American people from danger. Specifically, we urge you to use authority granted to you by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit foreign nationals who were recently present in an Ebola-ravaged country, from entering the United States.
“8 U.S.C. 1182(f) states ‘[W]henever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he deems to be appropriate.’
“You utilized this provision in August 2011, ‘to restrict the international travel and to suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of certain persons’ who participated in serious human rights and humanitarian law violations. Preventing Americans from contracting Ebola, which the World Health Organization (WHO) notes ‘has a death rate of up to 90%’ and has already killed at least 4,484 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, is every bit as important as preventing human rights abusers from entering the United States.
“While Ebola is not transmittable until a victim develops symptoms, the WHO notes that the incubation period can be 42 days or longer and that certain methods of Ebola transmission can continue for as long as seven weeks after a patient’s recovery. Therefore we urge that your use of 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) cover any foreign national who was present in a country with widespread and intense transmission of Ebola within the two months prior to desired travel to the U.S. Such a travel restriction can and should be temporary, with the moratorium lifted when the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and any other countries with a subsequent outbreak, is controlled.
“We have listened with interest to the arguments articulated by officials within the Administration in opposition to a ban on travel from affected countries. Unfortunately, such arguments seem to have little, if any, merit. And a growing number of Americans agree. In fact an October 14, 2014, ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that 67% of Americans surveyed said they would support ‘restricting entry to the United States by people who’ve been in affected countries.’
“Use of 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) is not only reasonable at this point, but is prudent and necessary to help prevent additional Ebola cases in the U.S. It will also help begin to turn around Americans’ large-scale lack of confidence that the Federal government is doing everything it can to protect them from Ebola.
“Thank you for your immediate attention to this critical matter.”
In an effort to significantly improve the oversight and accountability of the nation’s intelligence community, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, (D-Ore.) and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) spearheaded a bipartisan, bicameral effort to strengthen the government’s privacy protection board. The legislation gives the oversight board greater ability to carry out its function of balancing the government’s national security and counterterrorism activities with the need to protect the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans. The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senator Tom Udall, D-N.M., and U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.
The ‘‘Strengthening Privacy, Oversight, and Transparency Act’’ or ‘‘SPOT Act’’ expands the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board’s authority to play a watchdog role over surveillance conducted for purposes beyond counterterrorism. It also allows the PCLOB to issue subpoenas without having to wait for the Justice Department to issue them, and makes the board members full-time positions.
“Our country must strike the delicate balance between protecting our national security and our civil liberties. Many Americans are rightly concerned the pendulum has swung too far away from our civil liberties. That is why I commend my friend Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for her work on this bill and am happy to support the effort to equip the PCLOB to actually do its job,” Gowdy said. “For example, it makes little sense to charge the Board with independently monitoring the executive branch’s actions related to privacy concerns, but require the Attorney General’s approval before issuing subpoenas. This bill will help ensure our intelligence agencies safeguard the American people’s civil liberties while protecting our national security.”
“The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board’s mission is fundamental to Americans’ constitutional rights, but it can do even better work if its authorities are expanded and clarified,” Wyden said. “This bill gives the board the teeth it needs to fulfill its mandate of ensuring the government’s efforts to protect citizens at home and abroad also protect Americans’ privacy and civil liberties.”
“The American people should not be forced to choose between safety and security, or freedom, privacy, and civil liberties. Recent revelations of actions within the intelligence community show that these basic principles upon which our country was founded have been violated in the name of security. We have a responsibility to the people we serve to make sure that this is not allowed to occur, which is what this legislation seeks to do. I thank Senators Ron Wyden and Tom Udall, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, for joining me in introducing legislation to keep the American people, and their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, safe and secure,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who has been a vocal critic of the NSA’s overreaching spying programs.
"As chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that funds the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, I have fought to ensure the board has the resources necessary to conduct rigorous oversight of the government's surveillance activities," Udall said. "Expanding the board's jurisdiction to include all foreign intelligence activities will help further protect against the government's unacceptable infringement on Americans' privacy rights. I know we can protect both our security and our constitutional rights, but we need two things for true reform: open debate and independent oversight. I'm proud to join Senator Wyden and our colleagues in the House to introduce this bill that will expand that oversight."
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is an independent oversight body that was expanded in 2007 as part of Congress’ measures to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The commission called for an executive branch board that would ensure that government efforts to protect American security also protect Americans’ privacy and civil liberties. More recently, a number of outside experts, including the President’s own surveillance Review Group, have recommended that the Board’s mandate and authorities be expanded and clarified.
South Carolina Foster Care Review Board receives “Angels in Adoption” Award from Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI)
Our office was honored to nominate the Review Board for the CCAI’s “Angels in Adoption” Program, which honors individuals and groups who “have made extraordinary contributions on behalf of children in need of families.”
In the Review Board’s 2012-2013 annual report, it states that over 188 volunteers gave of their time and service to children in South Carolina. They spent over 8,400 volunteer hours reviewing cases and over 14, 000 hours working on related projects such as Heart Gallery, field trips for the children, and a host of other activities. Under the leadership of this Board, 51 service projects were completed and 31% of reviewed children were adopted by a family.
The Review Board’s members are the unsung heroes for South Carolina’s foster children and play a vital role in helping other foster care organizations. Their passion, determination and dedication for foster children are immeasurable and they are very deserving of this honor.
About the Board: The South Carolina General Assembly created the South Carolina Foster Care Review Board in 1974. The Review Board provides external accountability for the foster care program. Members are volunteer citizens from around the state. They are nominated by their legislative delegation and appointed to serve four-year terms by the Governor.
Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., issued the following statement on the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack and the second anniversary of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya:“History has shown when America turns a blind eye to terrorism, the terrorists will seize the opportunity to try to blindside us. It is a lesson we learned painfully as a nation in 2001 and again in 2012.
“As we mark the anniversary of the two 9/11 terrorist attacks, and those who lost their lives, we are reminded of the real cost of terrorism and the importance of remaining vigilant. It should not take the rise of ISIS or Boko Haram or AQAP to force vigilance on the part of our nation and its leaders. And we should not have to relearn the lesson of vigilance every couple of years through the spilled blood of American citizens.
“Today we honor the memories and lives of those we lost in New York, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We also honor the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods.
“It is for them that we must establish all of the facts of what happened in Benghazi, beyond any reasonable doubt. And it is for the American people, and those who serve our nation overseas—to restore their faith and confidence—that the Committee will establish the facts in a fair and impartial manner.”Read More
The House Judiciary Committee today approved by a vote of 21-11 the Protecting the Homeland Act (H.R. 5401), a bill authored by Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and Oversight and Government Reform National Security Subcommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), to stop the Obama Administration from lifting a 30-year prohibition on Libyans coming to the U.S. to attend flight school, to work in aviation maintenance or flight operations, or to study or seek training in nuclear science. In July, the Office of Management and Budget approved a final regulation to lift this decades-old policy. Once Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson signs this regulation, it will become effective unless further action is taken.
The Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA), which represents 51,000 pilots who fly for 31 airlines in the U.S. and Canada, today expressed strong support for H.R. 5401. In their letter to Chairman Goodlatte, Captain Lee Moak notes the dangerous conditions in Libya and states that “given the political instability in Libya and the transitory nature of the government, ALPA is concerned that information relevant to a background check on Libyan nationals would be unreliable if not entirely unavailable.”
Subcommittee Chairman Gowdy, Chairman Goodlatte, and Congressman Chaffetz released the statements below praising today’s approval of this legislation by the House Judiciary Committee.
Subcommittee Chairman Gowdy: “The chief responsibility of government is the security of its people, and as those entrusted to govern, we must be vigilant in fulfilling this duty. Yet, the Administration has not been clear as to why repealing this longstanding rule now, while the situation in Libya is more uncertain and dangerous, will benefit our national security. I am pleased the committee passed our bill, the Protecting the Homeland Act, to stop this policy reversal.”
Chairman Goodlatte: “Given the ongoing terrorist activity in Libya, it is unconscionable that the Obama Administration is carelessly forging ahead with its plan to allow Libyans to attend flight school or study nuclear science in the United States. The Obama Administration justifies its plan by claiming that the United States’ relationship with Libya has ‘normalized,’ but it is anything but normal. This summer, Americans working at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli were evacuated due to rival rebel groups battling each other for control of the area. And less than two years ago, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked by terrorists, leaving four Americans dead.
“Lifting this longstanding ban is not in the best interest of the American people and needlessly places our country at risk. I am pleased that the House Judiciary Committee today approved the Protecting the Homeland Act to stop President Obama from implementing this foolish and dangerous plan so that we protect Americans and our national security from threats in Libya.”
Congressman Chaffetz: “The Obama Administration continues to turn a blind eye to the current situation in Libya. The country is far from normal and remains vulnerable to unchecked terrorist activity. Lifting a decades-old security ban on a country challenged by instability threatens the safety of both countries. The Protecting the Homeland Act will stop the Administration from carelessly lifting this ban. I encourage my colleagues in the House and Senate to swiftly pass this legislation.”
Background: The prohibition on Libyans from studying nuclear science or training as pilots in the United States was originally put in place in the 1980s after the wave of terrorist incidents involving Libyans. Not even two years after the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, the Obama Administration justifies lifting this ban by claiming the United States’ relationship with Libya has “normalized.” However, the terror threat continues and numerous news reports document recent terror-related activities coming from Libya. Recently, the employees at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli were evacuated due to violence between rival militias near the facility. Since then, many foreign governments have closed their embassies in Libya and evacuated staff as the violence has spread throughout the country.
Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and Oversight and Government Reform National Security Subcommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) today introduced the Protecting the Homeland Act (H.R. 5401) to stop the Obama Administration from lifting a longstanding prohibition on Libyans coming to the U.S. to attend flight school, to work in aviation maintenance or flight operations, or to study or seek training in nuclear science. In July, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved a final regulation to lift this decades-old policy. Once Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson signs this regulation, it will become effective unless further action is taken.
The prohibition was originally put in place in the 1980s after the wave of terrorist incidents involving Libyans. Not even two years after the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, the Obama Administration justifies lifting this ban by claiming the United States’ relationship with Libya has “normalized.” However, the terror threat continues and numerous news reports document recent terror-related activities coming from Libya. Recently, the employees at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli were evacuated due to violence between rival militias near the facility. Since then, many foreign governments have closed their embassies in Libya and evacuated staff as the violence has spread throughout the country. Additionally, it has been reported that Islamist militias stole 11 commercial jetliners last month at the airport in Tripoli, and intelligence agencies have warned that they could be used in terrorist attacks.
Subcommittee Chairman Gowdy, Chairman Goodlatte, and Congressman Chaffetz released the statements below following the introduction of their bill to stop the Obama Administration’s policy reversal from taking effect.
Subcommittee Chairman Gowdy: “Considering the deteriorating situation in Libya, it is hard to understand why DHS is moving ahead with repealing this 30-year old rule. We still have not heard from the Administration why this policy is going to improve national security. Is post-revolutionary Libya secure enough to change the rules? Why now? This is a risk to our national security and compels us to act. Our legislation would codify the current regulation and prevent the Administration from unilaterally carrying out this change.
Chairman Goodlatte: “Given the ongoing terrorist activity in Libya, it is unconscionable that the Obama Administration is carelessly forging ahead with its plan to allow Libyan pilots and nuclear scientists to train in the United States. The Obama Administration justifies its plan by claiming that the United States’ relationship with Libya has ‘normalized,’ but it is anything but normal. This summer, Americans working at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli were evacuated due to rival rebel groups battling each other for control of the area. And less than two years ago, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked by terrorists, leaving four Americans dead.
“Lifting this longstanding ban is not in the best interest of the American people and needlessly places our country at risk. The Protecting the Homeland Act will stop President Obama from implementing this foolish and dangerous plan so that we protect Americans and our national security from threats in Libya.”
Congressman Chaffetz: “Libya is in chaos. Violent threats in the region continue to grow. Even our embassy in Tripoli was evacuated due to militia violence close to the compound. Lifting the ban to allow Libyans to come to the U.S. to train in aviation and nuclear sciences is not only bad policy, but it threatens the safety of this country. I appreciate Chairmen Goodlatte and Gowdy for their leadership on this important issue.”
Text of the Protecting the Homeland Act can be found here. The House Judiciary Committee will markup this legislation on Wednesday.Read More
Rep. Trey Gowdy and Senator Tim Scott today issued this joint statement:
"We are increasingly concerned about the horrific actions and brutality of ISIS spreading across Iraq and Syria and the lack of a clear plan of action from the President. Religious minorities and innocents have suffered unspeakable atrocities at the hands of these oppressors.
"Our nation’s current foreign policy is nearly impossible to decipher while ISIS grows emboldened by the day. We call on the President to clarify and communicate to the Congress and the American people his strategy for how he is going to counter this growing threat to humanity and our national security."Read More
Today two amendments proposed by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) were included in House-passed education affordability legislation, H.R. 3136, the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act of 2013.
“Too many students and families are struggling under the rising cost of higher education and student loan debt. The House is working to encourage innovation in our higher education system, promote flexible learning opportunities and reduce the cost of higher education,” Gowdy said. “Our amendments included in today's bill will help reduce unnecessary and burdensome government regulations that can contribute to costs and prevent institutions from pursuing innovative solutions for students.”
“A college education has always been the gateway to the American middle class,” said Welch. “With college costs up 1,120 percent over the last 30 years, and with students nationwide racking up $1.2 trillion in college loan debts, a college diploma is slipping further and further from the reach of young Americans. I am pleased that the House today approved our bipartisan amendments that will lead to lower college costs
The amendments included in HR 3136 would:
o The Secretary of Education or the Secretary’s designee
o A representative of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance established under section of the Higher Education Act of 1965
o Representatives from the higher education community
Last October, Gowdy and Welch introduced these proposals as part of the Flexibility to Innovate for College Affordability Act.
Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) released this statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.:
"As I tried - without much success - to explain to former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, this is not a political question, or even a medical question; it is a legal question. Can government require people, including business owners, to violate their religious beliefs if a less restrictive alternative exists to accomplish the same governmental goal? And of course the answer to that question is "no." The real surprise this morning was that four Supreme Court Justices really believe requiring others to provide “free" contraception is less restrictive than government providing it itself."Read More
Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) released this statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the President's NLRB “recess” appointments as unconstitutional:
“These ‘recess' appointments were void ab initio. Even a cursory understanding of the Constitution dictates the conclusion that the definition of ‘recess' does not change depending upon which political party is in power, which is why the Supreme Court ruled 9-0.”
“For the President, who once taught constitutional law, to force the Supreme Court to do what the plain language of the Constitution makes clear is not leadership. In the process, he has left the NLRB in a state of legal flux and compromised litigants, employees, and employers. “
“The Constitution is not a tool to be wielded for political expediency. It is the supreme law of the land and the President's responsibility is to take care that it is followed, not outmaneuvered.”
1404 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Representing South Carolina’s 4th District, Trey Gowdy entered Congress with a resolute commitment to the conservative principles that have guided him throughout his years in public service. At the core of those principles lies a firm belief in a limited government that inspires trust and demands accountability.
Representative Gowdy serves on the House Committees on Education and the Workforce, Ethics, Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform. He also serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security for the Judiciary Committee. In these capacities, Representative Gowdy has fought to highlight facts, uphold the Constitution, rein in the ever-expanding scope of the federal government, and restore America’s trust with a renewed spirit of honesty, fairness and reason.
Trey graduated from Spartanburg High School in 1982, Baylor University in 1986 with a degree in history, and the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1989 where he was a member of the scholastic honor society “Order of the Wig and Robe.”
For 6 years as a federal prosecutor, Trey prosecuted the full range of federal crimes including narcotics trafficking rings, bank robberies, child pornography cases, and the murder of a federal witness. He was awarded the Postal Inspector’s Award for the successful prosecution of J. Mark Allen, one of “America’s Most Wanted” suspects. He also received the highest performance rating a federal prosecutor can receive – two years in a row.
As 7th Circuit Solicitor, Trey led an office of 25 attorneys and 65 total employees. During his tenure, he started a Violence Against Women Task Force and a Worthless Check Program, enhanced and expanded Drug Court, and implemented a Drug Mother Protocol designed to assist expectant mothers break the cycle of addiction.
He has been recognized statewide for his commitment to victim’s rights and drunken driving enforcement and nationally for excellence in death penalty prosecutions.
Trey is married to Terri Dillard Gowdy, and they have two children: Watson and Abigail. Terri works for the Spartanburg School District as a teacher’s aide. Watson is a sophomore at Clemson University and Abigail is a rising 10th grader at Spartanburg High School. The Gowdy family also includes three dogs: “Judge”, “Jury”and “Bailiff.”
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We do not suffer from a lack of recommendations. We suffer from a lack of implementing and enacting those recommendations. #benghazihearing
From our letter to the President: "We write regarding your solemn duty as the President of the United States to take every step possible to protect
TODAY at 10 AM ET, the House Oversight Committee is holding the hearing, "White House Perimeter Breach: New Concerns about the Secret Service."
Our office was honored to nominate the South Carolina Foster Care Review Board for the CCAI’s “Angels in Adoption” Program, which honors