H.R. 4712, Strengthening the Department of Homeland Security Secure Mail Initiative Act

H.R. 4712

Strengthening the Department of Homeland Security Secure Mail Initiative Act

Rep. Jackie Speier

September 21, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On­­­­ Wednesday, September 21, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4712, the Strengthening the Department of Homeland Security Secure Mail Initiative Act, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 4712 was introduced on March 3, 2016, by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4712 directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide an option under the Secure Mail Initiative, which is implemented through the United States Postal, for an individual to require a signature for the delivery of vital immigration related documents. The bill allows the Secretary to impose a fee from the person requiring the signature to recoup the costs of providing such option.


The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) administers the Secure Mail Initiative (SMI) program. The program works with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to send sensitive immigration documents by secure mail with delivery confirmation so that these highly anticipated documents are delivered in a “safe, secure, and timely manner.”

Some immigration documents, such as permanent resident cards (green cards), travel documents, and employment authorization are much needed by their recipients and failure to receive them can severely disrupt their lives. SMI enables interested parties to track the progress of their documents as they make their way to the recipients using USPS tracking information available online or by telephone communication as well as allows USCIS to receive confirmation that they have arrived at the correct address.

According to the bill sponsor, “When immigration documents are not properly delivered, it can be catastrophic to the person who is waiting to receive it—and it poses a threat to national security. People nationwide have not been receiving their documents in the mail, even when the USPS tracking system reports the item has been delivered. That is unacceptable. It can create a great financial burden for the intended recipient whose only recourse is to reapply for the document, and that same document could wind up in the hands of terrorists or human traffickers. We can easily fix this problem by allowing people to choose signature-required delivery, at no additional cost to taxpayers.”[1]

[1] See Rep. Jackie Speier Press Release, “Speier Introduces Bill to Ensure that Sensitive Immigration Documents Reach Their Recipients Securely Via Mail,” March 8, 2016.


A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is currently not available.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.