WASHINGTON – Rep. Lamar Smith, member and former chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, delivered the following statement today at the hearing “Oversight of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” Agency director Sarah Saldaña testified at the hearing.
I am going to use my question time to make a statement because after eight years of asking Obama Administration officials why they refuse to enforce our immigration laws, I am confident that the Committee still won’t receive satisfactory answers today.
The president’s immigration policies continue to put innocent Americans at risk. The administration has ignored laws, failed to enforce laws, undermined laws, and unconstitutionally changed immigration laws.
Among these dangerous policies is the president’s unconstitutional executive amnesty, which requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to release criminal immigrants into our neighborhoods where inevitably they commit additional crimes.
Over the last three years, ICE has released 86,000 criminal immigrants into our communities. They had been convicted of over 230,000 crimes, which include homicide, aggravated assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, driving under the influence, and other serious crimes.
Over 30 percent will be arrested again for killing or injuring more innocent Americans. The administration’s intentional release of criminal immigrants amounts to the largest jailbreak in American history. And every day Americans across the country are paying a steep price.
Last year ICE deported a total of 235,000 illegal immigrants, the lowest number in ten years. This was only 2 percent of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. Of these, only about 70,000 were interior removals.
Under the current administration, ICE has started counting turnbacks at the border as traditional interior removals in an attempt to pad their deportation numbers. Previous presidents did not count turnbacks as deportations. But then no president has done so little to enforce immigration laws.
Investigation of immigrants who overstay their visas has disappeared. At least 40 percent of the more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the country entered legally and overstayed their visas.
Yet ICE only deported 2,456 visa overstayers in 2015. That is less than one-tenth of one percent of the total number of visa overstayers.
In addition, the administration has done nothing to hold any of the three hundred sanctuary cities accountable. These local governments violate federal law when they refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in the apprehension and deportation of illegal immigrants.
Congress mandated the cooperation of local officials in an immigration enforcement bill in 1996. I know, I wrote the law.
Tragically, the number of sanctuary cities has exploded under the Obama Administration. During testimony at our last oversight hearing, Director Saldana couldn’t name a single instance in which ICE tried to prevent a jurisdiction from becoming a sanctuary for criminal immigrants. The lawlessness of these sanctuary jurisdictions has had disastrous consequences.
Last year Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a five times deported career felon, shot and killed Kathryn Steinle. Lopez-Sanchez was set free to prey on innocent Americans, like Ms. Steinle, because of San Francisco’s sanctuary law.
Unfortunately, similar tragedies have occurred across the country as a result of these laws. So add these casualties to the current list of Americans who have become victims because of President Obama’s immigration policies.
These facts and figures demonstrate that enforcement of our immigration laws runs contrary to the Obama Administration’s amnesty agenda. Until the immigration policies of this administration are overturned, illegal immigrants will continue to victimize innocent Americans.
WASHINGTON – On Thursday evening, Congressman Lamar Smith voted in support of Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act (H.R. 5931) of which he is a cosponsor.
Congressman Smith: “Earlier this year, the Obama administration made an undisclosed $400 million cash payment to Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. President Obama again bypassed Congress and secretly financed our enemies, who might well use the funds for terrorist activity.”
H.R. 5931 prohibits the United States Government from making any cash payments to the Government of Iran until the President certifies Iran is not a primary money laundering concern or a state sponsor of terrorism. The bill states that the policy of the United States Government is not to pay ransom or release prisoners for the purpose of securing the release of United States citizens taken hostage abroad.
WASHINGTON – On the fifth anniversary of its enactment, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) celebrated the achievements of the America Invents Act. Spearheaded by Smith and Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the legislation passed 2011 at a time when the country’s patent system was long overdue for reform.
The patent system had served Americans well for years, but by 2005 it needed to be modernized to apply to computers, smartphones, and software. The laws could no longer protect unanticipated inventions. Patent ownership was in question. And overly broad patents were awarded that shouldn’t have been granted in the first place. The outdated system was dragged down by frivolous and costly lawsuits. Hundreds of thousands of patent applications were backlogged at the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).
For six years Smith championed the need for comprehensive improvement to patent law, working across the aisle in the House of Representatives and with the Senate to make changes all could agree on. On September 16, 2011, the America Invents Act (AIA) was signed into law by President Obama.
The AIA made the first comprehensive reforms to the patent system in 60 years. Since its implementation, the reforms have aided the PTO and have helped improve the quality of patents.
The new law has helped the PTO reduce the backlog of patent applications, created a post-grant review system to eliminate questionable patents that have already been issued, and reformed court procedures to limit abusive patent litigation.
Updates to patent laws have also harmonized the U.S. system with the global patent framework, which helps smaller inventors compete on a worldwide scale.
The AIA also established satellite offices of the Patent and Trademark Office, including an office in Dallas, to more closely connect patent filers with the USPTO, and improve the speed and quality of patent examination.
Congressman Smith: “Today’s anniversary marks an important date for the American patent system. The America Invents Act continues to improve the quality of patents, reduce patent application backlogs, and provide a better alternative to costly and prolonged litigation over the validity of existing patents. Congress, the Patent and Trademark Office, and stakeholders should remain committed to the America Invents Act’s continued success to unleash American innovations.”
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Lamar Smith and House Republicans voted to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs by giving more authority to the VA Secretary to hold employees accountable for poor performance or misconduct. By a vote of 250-171, the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016 (H.R. 5620) passed in the House and will go on to the Senate.
Congressman Smith: “Under existing law, it’s nearly impossible to replace employees at federal agencies like the VA, no matter how bad their behavior or work product. This bill takes a positive step forward by allowing the VA Secretary more flexibility to remove employees. The VA should not employ individuals who falsify records and ignore the needs of Veterans.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) released the following statement after the Thursday night attack in Nice, France:
“Yesterday evening the world saw again senseless loss of life – this time in Nice, France, including two Central Texans.
"We’re still learning details but this tragedy shows once more that terror has no weapon of choice. We must unite together to eliminate this scourge of evil. Today Nice and the community of Lakeway, TX, will be in our prayers.”Read More
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) voted in support of The Conscience Protection Act (S. 304), which protects health care providers who decline to participate in abortions as a matter of conscience. The bill passed in the House 245-182.
Congressman Smith: “My vote today was for common sense – no health care provider should be forced to violate their conscience to fund, support or perform abortions. The bill also rightly maintains that federal funding – Americans’ tax dollars – should be denied to any entity that discriminates against individual providers who morally object to abortion services.”
WASHINGTON – Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) issued the following statement after the horrific shooting of police officers in Dallas on Thursday evening:
Congressman Smith: “I am deeply saddened by the orchestrated attack on Dallas police officers who devoted their lives to serving and protecting their community. There has been a tragic loss of life this week. In this heartbreaking time, we should all join together to pray for Dallas and our nation.”
WASHINGTON – Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) issued the following statement after FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s recommendation not to prosecute former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for maintaining classified information on a private server:
Congressman Smith: “On Tuesday, FBI Director Comey stated that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was “extremely careless” and mishandled classified information. Director Comey’s testimony today further indicates that Clinton may have lied to Congress and likely broke the law. The decision not to prosecute sets a dangerous precedent that public officials are above the law. We cannot hold elected officials to different standards than the rest of Americans when it comes to following the law.”
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) spoke on the House floor about reports demonstrating federal immigration laws are not being enforced. One report found that the administration refuses to send many criminal immigrants back to their country of origin, and as result, thousands of dangerous immigrants are released into American neighborhoods.
These reports come at a critical time, as today the Senate split 53-44 on the “Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act,” not reaching the necessary 60 senators to hold a vote on the Senate floor. Congressman Smith is the author of existing federal law that prohibits sanctuary cities, jurisdictions that refuse to share information about criminal aliens with the federal government and refuse to recognize ICE requests. The Senate bill enforces the Smith ban on sanctuary cities by denying certain federal funds to those jurisdictions that aren’t following the law.
Smith said of sanctuary cities: “Federal immigration law must be enforced. State and local jurisdictions with policies that obstruct the enforcement of the law, putting Americans at risk, should be held accountable.”
Watch Rep. Smith’s floor speech here.
“Immigration Policies Hurt Americans”
(As delivered on Wednesday, July 6, 2016)
Two recent reports demonstrate the degree to which federal immigration laws are not enforced by this administration.
A new study by the Center for Immigration Studies shows that almost one million illegal immigrants have been ordered deported but remain in the country. The administration doesn’t seem to care.
A second report found that the administration refuses to take the steps necessary to send criminal immigrants back to their countries of origin.
As a result, thousands of dangerous criminal immigrants are released into our neighborhoods. One-third commit additional crimes, including murder and sexual assault, against innocent Americans.
Our borders are not secure. One-half million people come into the U.S. illegally every year. But the administration, instead of enforcing laws, wants to give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
The immigration policies of this administration continue to hurt Americans.
Congressman Smith represents the 21st District of Texas. He serves as chairman of the House Science, Space, & Technology Committee, is also a member of the Committee on Homeland Security, and is a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.Read More
WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) gave the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-3 vote to strike down a Texas law (H.B. 2) designed to provide essential protections for the health and safety of women inside the state’s abortion facilities.
Congressman Lamar Smith: “Today, the Supreme Court ruled against life, common-sense safety measures and states’ rights. The court has encroached on the State of Texas’ ability to self-govern. And the court’s decision jeopardizes the safety of women who pursue abortion services.
“The Supreme Court chose to side with pro-abortion advocates at the expense of an individual’s health care needs. I remain steadfast in my belief that life is precious, and no life is more vulnerable than that of an unborn child.”
Earlier this year, Smith and U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX), along with U.S. Representatives Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) and Pete Olson (R-TX), led a broad Congressional coalition filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Texas HB 2.Read More
2409 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Lamar Smith represents the 21st Congressional District of Texas.
He serves as Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, which has jurisdiction over programs at NASA, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The Committee oversees agency budgets of $39 billion, where the primary focus is on research and development.
Congressman Smith continues to serve on both the Judiciary Committee and the Homeland Security Committee. He is a former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Ethics Committee.
In the last Congress, Congressman Smith was named Policymaker of the Year by POLITICO for his work on patent reform legislation.
A fifth generation Texan and native of San Antonio, Congressman Smith graduated from Yale University and Southern Methodist University School of Law. He and his wife, Beth, have an adult daughter and son.
The 21st Congressional District includes parts of Bexar, Travis, Comal and Hays Counties and all of Bandera, Blanco, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr and Real Counties. The district’s population is about 700,000. Congressman Smith maintains district offices in San Antonio, Austin and Kerrville.
Retweeted by lamarsmithtx21
This breaks my heart. The Administration has to start enforcing our immigration laws. https://t.co/YFkSHrHyOu
Retweeted by lamarsmithtx21
Retweeted by lamarsmithtx21
Rep. Lamar Smith not afraid of ruffling feathers https://t.co/9mJDlDzyQS
Retweeted by lamarsmithtx21