Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement after receiving confirmation from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that there are no plans to house illegal immigrants at two Navy airfields in south Baldwin County.
Click here to read the letter from ICE Deputy Director Ronald Vitiello.
Congressman Byrne said: “Housing illegal immigrants at ill-equipped airfields along the Gulf Coast was always a terrible idea, so I appreciate the confirmation that this plan is no longer being considered. We had a team effort to push back this flawed idea, and I especially want to thank Baldwin County Commissioners Chris Elliott and Tucker Dorsey and Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack for their advocacy on this issue.
“While I am glad this issue is resolved, we must continue working to secure the border and eliminate the need for additional housing for illegal immigrants altogether. I remain 100% committed to working with President Trump to build a border wall, hire additional border patrol officers, and ensure our border security is as strong as possible.”
Congressman Byrne led an effort in Washington to express opposition to housing up to 10,000 illegal immigrants at Naval Outlying Field Silverhill and Naval Outlying Field Wolf in south Baldwin County. He joined other members of the Alabama and Florida Congressional delegations in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Mattis and Secretary of Homeland Security Nielson outlining concerns with the proposal. Byrne also hosted Baldwin County officials in Washington for a series of meetings to convene local concerns with the proposal.Read More
Each August, the House of Representatives typically enters a period of recess known as the August District Work Period. This is time set aside for Members of Congress to travel across their home districts visiting with the people they represent.
For me, this is incredibly valuable time that I can spend listening to my constituents and gaining a better understanding of the issues impacting our area. Here is just a quick highlight of my August District Work Period so far.
As you probably already know, I love to hold town hall meetings throughout the First District to hear directly from the people I represent. This August, I am holding a “Better Off Now” Town Hall Tour with twelve stops in all six counties that make up the First District. So far, we have held town hall meetings in Salipta, Atmore, Brewton, Dauphin Island, Millry, Citronelle, and Mobile. Later this month, we will make stops in Grand Bay, Monroeville, Seminole, Loxley, and Spanish Fort. You can get all the details about the town halls online at Byrne.House.Gov/BetterOffTour.
Visiting local businesses and talking with employees is another priority for me in August. For example, I have already visited Olin in McIntosh, the Louisiana Pacific facility in Clarke County, Serda Brewing in Mobile, and Metal Shark Boats and Master Marine in Bayou La Batre, just to name a few. The visits help me learn firsthand how federal issues are directly impacting employers and employees in Southwest Alabama.
A really special opportunity was being able to ride along with UPS to help deliver packages on the Eastern Shore. I dressed up in the full UPS uniform, rode in the truck, and personally delivered packages. It really helped to step in the driver’s shoes and see the difficult work they do every day. I am especially grateful to Chris Dorgan for showing me the ropes.
Just last week, I hosted Chris Oliver, NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, down on Dauphin Island for a Red Snapper research trip. As one of the leading federal officials responsible for our fisheries, I welcomed the opportunity to show off the health of the Red Snapper stock in the Gulf, as well as the very impressive research being done locally by the University of South Alabama and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.
Also last week, I traveled to the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System in Biloxi to meet with the director and get an update on services for our veterans. As you may know, the Biloxi VA oversees most of our local VA facilities. It was a productive visit as I work to hold the VA accountable and ensure our veterans receive the care they deserve.
We had the annual Women’s Forum in downtown Mobile, which is organized by the Community Foundation of South Alabama. We had another outstanding crowd as local women had the opportunity to network and hear from speakers and panelists about issues important to them.
I find great value in holding roundtable discussions to hear directly from leaders about specific issues. With this in mind, we held separate roundtables with local school superintendents, economic developers from our area, and community leaders from Chatom. Each of these roundtables were very informative, and we have more scheduled later this month.
As you can probably tell, this August District Work Period has already been a huge success. The good news is that we are just getting started! I look forward to spending more time around Southwest Alabama throughout August to help me be the best Congressman possible.Read More
Over the next few weeks, students across Southwest Alabama will head back to school. The start of a new school year always comes with special emotions for students, parents, and teachers.
In Washington, I am the only Member of Congress from Alabama who serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, which has jurisdiction over K-12 education. Through this position, I am able to advocate for our local teachers, students, and parents.
When it comes to education policy, my top priority is always to return control and authority to the local level. I do not want bureaucrats in Washington telling teachers back in Alabama how to do their job. It is exactly this kind of top-down, Washington-knows-best mentality that has failed our students for many years.
Each August, I convene a meeting of our local school superintendents to preview the new school year and discuss issues that impact our local students and teachers. We held the meeting last week in Bay Minette, and our discussion was very informative.
Their top concern this year is school safety, and I agree with them. I know our local administrators are taking steps to ensure that every student remains safe at school, and I am committed to working with our local leaders to make sure they have the resources they need.
For example, the House has passed legislation to increase grant funding for school safety programs. We need to set aside more money for school resource officers and other tools to help keep our schools safe.
In almost every school shooting, warning signs were there, but they went unreported or officials did not know how to properly respond. I want to change that.
I am also working on legislation that would help make information and research available to all our school officials. This information would help our teachers, counselors, and principals better spot students who are at a high risk of potentially becoming a school shooter.
Another issue important to our schools is career and technical education. I’ve been to many of our local schools and seen these programs firsthand. They work incredibly well, and we need to do more to support them.
I’m pleased to report that just last week President Trump signed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act into law. This bipartisan bill passed both the House and the Senate without a single dissenting vote.
Since it wasn’t controversial, the national news media ignored the bill, but it is a monumental achievement that will go a long way toward getting students the skills they need to thrive in the 21st Century economy.
See, career and technical education is all about matching the needs of the workforce with students. Despite what some want you to believe, students don’t need to go to a 4-year college to be successful. In fact, many students who go through a career/technical education program go on to make more money than those with a regular 4-year degree.
We have more unfilled jobs in our country today than we have unemployed Americans. That’s a good thing, but it means we need to do a better job of training the workforce of tomorrow. By passing this bill, we took a big step in the right direction.
So, as our students head back to school over the coming weeks, I am going to continue advocating for stronger local control over education and fighting for the issues that our local leaders say are important, like school safety and career/technical education.
I wish all our students, teachers, principals, faculty, and parents all the best as they kick off a new school year!Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement regarding eight grants from the federal Department of Transportation to local airports in Southwest Alabama.
Congressman Byrne said: “Having a well-maintained and quality airport is critical in terms of economic development and helping bring new jobs to our region. I appreciate the Department of Transportation and Secretary Elaine Chao for their investment and support of Alabama’s airports. These grants will be put to good use to help improve our infrastructure in Southwest Alabama.”
The following grants were awarded by the Department of Transportation:
Imagine the scenario: a massive earthquake strikes an impoverished island country. It is followed up by multiple aftershocks and a tsunami. Countless lives are lost and thousands more are injured. The United States and partner nations are called in to respond and help get the nation back on its feet.
In this instance, this was a scenario as part of the Rim of the Pacific exercise, also known as RIMPAC, military training exercise in the Pacific Ocean. While this time the scenario was just an exercise, it most certainly could become a reality. The question becomes would our country, as well as partner nations, be prepared to respond.
That’s where RIMPAC comes into play. As the world’s largest naval exercise, RIMPAC allows the United States and partner nations to train together and learn more about each nation’s capabilities. Since it was started in 1971 by the United States, Australia, and Canada, RIMPAC has allowed for critical training and relationship-building across the Pacific region.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend RIMPAC this year to talk with our military leadership, observe some of the exercise, and interact with our servicemen and women. As Vice-Chairman of the House Seapower and Project Forces Subcommittee, the trip continued my understanding of the challenges facing our naval fleet, as well as provided a general overview of the overall capabilities of the world’s navies.
The theme for this year’s exercise was “Capable, Adaptive, Partners.” The formal objective was to “enhance the operability of the combined RIMPAC forces across the full spectrum of military operations in the maritime environment.”
Admiral John Alexander, the Commander of U.S. Third Fleet and the person in charge of the RIMPAC exercise, put it best when he said “it’s hard to say no to a friend.” That is why RIMPAC is so important.
This year, RIMPAC runs from June 27th to August 2nd. 25 nations participated this year, bringing 46 ships, five submarines, 17 national land forces, over 200 aircraft, and over 25,000 total personnel. Those numbers demonstrate just how large and impressive this exercise is.
During my trip, we had the opportunity to go aboard both a U.S. and an Australian Navy ship. That speaks to the nature of RIMPAC. It is all about partnerships and gaining a better understanding for each other. The Australians were incredibly welcoming and took great pride in showing off their ship and their ability to successfully operate with U.S. military personnel.
One of the highlights of my RIMPAC trip was being able to meet with some sailors from Mobile, Brewton, Spanish Fort, and Tuscaloosa. In the small time I spent with them, I could tell these were high quality individuals who love serving their country. I made sure to convey our deep appreciation for service and sacrifice.
You see, the U.S. Navy is always impressive, but leading 25 nations in a joint naval exercise underscores just how impressive it is. No other navy in the history of the world has ever done that, but the reasons for doing it are even more important.
We are using our hard power to achieve a soft power goal – attaching each of these countries closer to the United States and creating relationships across our militaries which not only serves us all well in times of peace, as when there is a natural disaster, but just as importantly also lowers the chance of war.
Hopefully the lessons learned at RIMPAC never have to be used, but I have greater confidence in our Navy and our partners following another successful exercise in the Pacific.Read More
Jackson Tunks and Summer Hinton, two college students from Southwest Alabama, recently completed a summer internship in the Mobile office of Congressman Bradley Byrne.
During their internships, they assisted with legislative and administrative tasks including answering the phones, attending events throughout Southwest Alabama, and assisting constituents with various government agencies. They had the opportunity to attend the keel laying of the USS Oakland at Austal USA, tour Airbus and the USS Alabama, and visit the new federal courthouse in downtown Mobile. They also worked with local veterans on the Library of Congress Veteran History Project, which helps collect stories from our nation’s brave veterans.
Congressman Byrne said: “Some of the most important work my office does actually takes place in my district offices back in Alabama, so it was a big help to have Summer and Jackson serve as interns in my Mobile office this summer. They are both very impressive, high quality individuals, and I have no doubt they have very bright futures ahead of them.”
Summer Hinton, a native of Mobile, is a sophomore at the University of Alabama, where she is double majoring in Public Relations and Political Science. She hopes to graduate in 2021 and go on to pursue a graduate degree in law at the University of Alabama.
Hinton said: “It has been both an honor and privilege to be a part of Congressman Byrne’s office this summer. The experience and knowledge I have gained from serving the constituents of Alabama’s First District is not something I could ever put a price on. Working alongside Congressman Byrne and his exceptional staff was part of a summer I will never forget, filled with wonderful events that only helped me to become more knowledgeable about what is happening in the First District. I am grateful to the congressman and his staff for allowing me this opportunity and experience. I hope they continue with their valuable work. They truly make a difference.”
Jackson Tunks, a native of Fairhope, Alabama is a junior at Queens University of Charlotte, where he is majoring in History with minors in Business Leadership and Political Science.
Tunks said: “I’ve had such an amazing experience being able to intern with Congressman Bradley Byrne and his staff. Working alongside his Mobile Office to help the people of Alabama’s First District has been such a rewarding opportunity that I’ll always appreciate. After this internship, I definitely feel more prepared and confident in my future careers.”
Congressional internships are a valuable experience for students interested in the legislative process or the federal government. Congressman Byrne accepts interns throughout the year. All interns must be in college or a recent college graduate at the time of their internship. Click here for more information on the internship process.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement in response to the City of Daphne receiving a $1.5 million grant from the Economic Development Administration to fund additional infrastructure improvements to serve the Daphne Innovation and Science Complex (DISC).
Congressman Byrne said: “I want to thank the Economic Development Administration and the Trump Administration for their support of the Daphne Innovation and Science Complex (DISC). The DISC project will greatly expand the economic potential of the Eastern Shore and Baldwin County at large. I remain committed to working with our local officials to continue moving the project forward as we work to bring more good-paying jobs to our area.”Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, today applauded passage of the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. The NDAA sets policy and authorizes funding for the entire U.S. military. The bill passed by a strong bipartisan vote of 359 to 54.
Congressman Byrne played a leading role in the bill, as a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a member of the House-Senate Conference Committee established to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the NDAA.
Congressman Byrne said: “Some things are more important than partisan politics, like supporting the men and women who put their lives on the line each and every day to help keep our nation safe. I was pleased to see the House pass the National Defense Authorization Act today on a strong bipartisan vote. With this bill, we are sending a message to our servicemembers that we have their backs. I look forward to President Trump signing this bill to rebuild and reform our military into law.”
Specific to Southwest Alabama, the bill authorizes the construction of three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which are built by Austal USA in Mobile. The Senate version of the NDAA only authorized funding for one LCS, but Congressman Byrne worked with his colleagues to ensure three ships were included in the final bill.
Congressman Byrne said: “We will never get to the 355-ship Navy fleet that we need and President Trump wants without supporting the LCS program this year. I appreciate Chairman Mac Thornberry and Congressman Rob Wittman for working with me to grow our Navy and support the LCS program, including the close to 4,000 men and women who work at the Austal shipyard in Mobile.”
A transcript of Congressman Byrne’s remarks in support of the legislation can be found below. Click here for more information on the bill.
Congressman Byrne said: “Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 1027 provides for consideration of the Conference Report to accompany H.R. 5515, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.
“This NDAA process has once again been a textbook example of how Congress should work. After extensive hearings in the House and the Senate, lengthy committee markups, hundreds of amendments, separate passage in both chambers, and a conference committee, we have reached the point of final passage. This has been a process that has followed regular order and allowed so many Members to have a role in the process.
“Here in the House, that is a testament to Chairman Mac Thornberry, Ranking Member Adam Smith, and their very capable staffs. This is the earliest the House has passed the final version of the NDAA in 41 years, which is a remarkable feat. A considerable amount of time and effort has been put into this product, and I know I join other members of the House in expressing our deep gratitude for their efforts.
“This year’s NDAA offers the next steps in our effort to rebuild our military and reform the Pentagon.
“I know many of us have been deeply troubled by the readiness crisis that struck the military over the last several years. This has resulted in training accidents and failures that took the lives of our servicemembers.
“To reverse that trend, this year’s NDAA allows for increased funding for training, as well as $2.8 billion for the procurement of spare airplane parts.
“In response to recent naval incidents in the Pacific, the NDAA directs the Navy to review their operational chain of command and current training plans for Surface Warfare Officers.
“The strategy of peace through strength requires us to continue to produce and procure the best tools and resources possible.
“In an effort to build towards President Trump’s goal of a 355 ship Navy fleet, the NDAA authorizes the construction of new ships, including a Ford-class aircraft carrier, additional Virginia-class attack submarines, and three Littoral Combat Ships.
“Given the range of challenges in the nuclear domain, the NDAA supports the Nuclear Posture Review’s recommendation to pursue a lower-yield ballistic missile warhead, while also making important investments in our missile defense programs.
“Very important, the NDAA authorizes a 2.6% pay raise for our servicemembers, which is the highest increase in nine years. This is critical to recruiting and retaining the best and the brightest.
“Additionally, the NDAA focuses on policies specific to Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, as well as provisions related on non-state actors and terrorist organizations.
“I am also pleased that the conference report contains a compromised final version of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act. Congress has come together in a strong, bipartisan manner to recognize the growing threat of countries like China in weaponizing financial investment, threatening our advanced technologies and undermining our defense industrial base.
“The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS, is an interagency body led by the Treasury Department tasked with reviewing foreign investment for national security concerns. However, United States law governing CFIUS has not been modernized for over a decade and is not designed to address today’s modern, evolving threats.
“The Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act gives CFIUS much needed additional authority to address real national security threats without unduly burdening foreign investment in the American economy and slowing American economic growth in the process.
“I could go on and on about the important reforms and priorities in this legislation, but these should give you an idea of our focus on standing up to our adversaries and supporting our servicemen and women.
“Mr. Speaker, just this past weekend, I was able to spend time with some of our fine servicemen and women in the Pacific, where they are taking part in RIMPAC, the world’s largest naval exercise.
“It is amazing to see the work these men and women, often very young, are doing on a daily basis. Whether it is landing planes on an aircraft carrier or steering a massive warship, these individuals are asked to carry out incredibly complicated and dangerous tasks, and they do it exceedingly well.
“It is the least we can do to show these courageous and patriotic Americans we have their back by passing this NDAA on a strong, bipartisan basis. We deal with a lot of complicated, and frankly divisive issues in this body, but today, on this issue, I hope we can show that our national security and the people who devote so much to keep us safe can rise above the divisiveness of today’s politics.
“Let’s pass this NDAA for the 58th straight year, and make sure all our service men and women know we have their backs.
“I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting House Resolution 1027 and the underlying bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.”Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, today celebrated passage of a landmark career and technical education (CTE) reform bill.
H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, makes reforms to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to ensure more Americans enter the workforce with the skills they need to find a good-paying job in an in-demand skill area.
Congressman Byrne said: “This bill won’t get nearly the attention it deserves, but this is a huge, bipartisan victory for students, businesses of all sizes, and the American people. By improving our nation’s career and technical education programs, we can better meet the demands and realities of the 21st Century economy and put more Americans to work.”
The bill passed out of the House on a voice vote. Since the bill passed the Senate earlier this week, it now heads to President Trump for his signature.
A transcript of Congressman Byrne’s remarks in support of the legislation can be found below. Click here for more information on the bill.
Congressman Byrne said: “Mr. Speaker, we have a skills crisis in our country. We actually have more job openings than we have unemployed Americans. This is keeping our economy from reaching full potential.
“So how we do solve this problem? Well, a big way is through expanding career and technical education programs. As the demands of the workforce continue to change and become more complex, these programs are critical to building the workforce of the 21st Century.
“I’ve seen these programs firsthand back in Alabama, in our high schools and I saw it work in our two-year colleges. They benefit the local economy by helping fill open jobs, but they make the lives of our students intrinsically better by connecting them with the skills they need to thrive.
“So, I urge my colleagues to support this bill and show the strong, bipartisan support that we showed when it passed the House the first time. Career and technical education is for everybody in America, and America’s House needs to stand up and support it.”Read More
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, commonly known as ICE, is the federal law enforcement agency tasked with enforcing our nation’s border control, customs, trade, and immigration laws. The agency was formed back in 2002 when Congress passed the Homeland Security Act.
ICE has over 20,000 employees, including over 400 offices in the United States and additional offices in 46 other countries. ICE is responsible for enforcement and removal procedures against those who enter our country illegally. They also play a critically important role in cracking down on human and drug trafficking.
I have deep respect for the work our ICE officials and officers do daily to help keep the nation safe. In 2017, ICE made more than 76,000 drug arrests, arrested 4,818 people in gang-related incidents, and stopped 980,000 pounds of narcotics at the border. Similar efforts are already underway this year.
Given the important work ICE does, I am dismayed to see some liberals calling for ICE to be abolished altogether. Instead of supporting these hardworking law enforcement officials, it seems some are truly committed to open borders and reckless behavior.
The “Abolish ICE” movement is not something that just activists are calling for. In fact, several Democrat Senators and Congressmen have also started to call for the law enforcement agency to be shut down. This would be a major mistake that could endanger the safety of the American people.
This is just another example of how the “resistance” movement in our country today seems much more interested in causing problems than solving them. We have serious flaws and issues with our immigration system that need to be fixed and enforced, but the answer is not to simply open our borders.
In an effort to demonstrate strong bipartisan support for ICE, the House held a vote last week on a resolution declaring our support for ICE and their mission. This was a straightforward resolution simply to make sure our ICE officers know the majority of Americans have their back.
I was shocked to see only 18 Democrats vote in support of the resolution. 34 voted against supporting ICE, while another 133 simply voted present. I know there are political differences in our country today, but it is deeply concerning that over 160 Democrats in the House were not willing to say they support ICE and the work they do to keep our country safe.
Despite their opposition, the resolution still passed. I hope all our ICE officers and employees take comfort in seeing a majority in Congress continue to stand up for them and the vital mission they carry out, despite what is often said on the news.
The issue really speaks to the larger problem about the future of immigration laws in our country. I am committed to standing up for the rule of law and ensuring our immigration laws are fully enforced.
To be clear, I support the legal immigration process, but I hear from individuals who have come into our country through the legal process who are incredibly frustrated by the idea that people can break the line, enter our country illegally, and not face any consequences. We must have a process in place that actually works and strongly punishes those who choose to enter illegally.
ICE plays a critical role in implementing and enforcing that process. Without the agency, we would be unable to control the flow of people and products into our country. As I have said before, a nation without borders and the rule of law is destined to fail.
Rest assured, I will keep standing up for ICE and will vehemently fight any efforts to abolish the agency.Read More
119 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Bradley Byrne was born and raised in Mobile, just a few miles from the site where his great-great-great grandfather, Gerald Byrne, settled in the 1780’s.
After completing his undergraduate studies at Duke University, Byrne received his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. He has practiced law in Mobile for more than 30 years, always active in the local community through various service and economic development organizations.
Byrne served as a member of the Alabama State Senate representing District 32 from 2003 to 2007. Byrne was elected to Congress in December 2013, to complete the term of Congressman Jo Bonner, who announced his retirement in May 2013. Congressman Byrne was elected to his first full term on November 4, 2014.
In Congress, Byrne has established himself as an effective legislator by successfully advocating for local interests while also championing a smaller, less invasive federal government. Byrne is a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, House Committee on Rules, and House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Byrne has been married to the former Rebecca Dukes of Montgomery for over 30 years. Rebecca is the President and CEO of The Community Foundation of South Alabama, and they are the parents of four children: Patrick, Kathleen, Laura, and Colin. Bradley and Rebecca welcomed the birth of their first grandson, MacGuire Arthur Byrne, on September 4, 2014. Bradley lives in Fairhope where he and his family are members of St. James Episcopal Church.
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Great news from U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne. No illegal immigrants to be housed in Baldwin County! Great tea… https://t.co/bHOafR6IGb