Issue Position: Homeland Security

Issue Position

By:  Lamar Smith
Date: Jan. 1, 2011
Location: Unknown

America remains at war with terrorists who continue to target the American people. Our national security agencies must stay on the offensive and keep our enemies on the defensive.

While our intelligence agencies must learn from any mistakes, we cannot wait for any further incidents to expose any additional vulnerability. We must improve our threat assessments and undertake appropriate security protections. We must design and implement strategies to prevent terrorists from ever attempting any attacks. By doing so, we can prevent another terrorist attack and save thousands of lives.

I have co-sponsored legislation that requires the President to notify Congress 60 days before a transfer or release of a GITMO detainee occurs and to certify that such a transfer or release will not result in the release of any detainee into the United States, adversely affect the prosecution of any detainee, or otherwise pose a security risk to the U.S.

I am also working to hold the Obama administration accountable for implementing weak immigration enforcement policies that make it easier for terrorists to come to America and move about the country undetected.

All but one of the 9-11 hijackers acquired some form of a U.S. identification document. But the administration is fighting to repeal REAL ID, which makes it more difficult for illegal immigrants -- including terrorists - to obtain drivers' licenses. Instead, the Administration supports PASS ID, which weakens the REAL ID requirement that the issuance of identification documents used to obtain a driver's license must be verified. The easier it is for illegal immigrants to obtain drivers' licenses, the more inclined they are to remain here. And, for terrorists, the easier it is to board commercial flights, rent cars and blend into American communities.

In the FY 2010 budget proposal, the administration requested no funding for development and implementation of a biometric airport exit program. Such a program is necessary to combat illegal immigration since 40% of the estimated eleven to twenty million illegal immigrants currently in the United States overstayed their non-immigrant visas. Full implementation of the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (U.S.-VISIT) program would ensure that the Federal Government knows whether people who entered the country on short-term visas return home.

As a member of the Homeland Security Committee and the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, I have worked to ensure our national security and make sure our borders and ports of entry are secure.

Iraq and Afghanistan
Though progress has been made, many challenges remain. The men and women in our armed forces face one of the gravest threats of our time. Each day our troops confront terrorists who hate our country, our citizens, our freedoms and our way of life. We must give our brave service men and women the resources and support they deserve. My hope and expectation is that our troops will return home as soon as possible. And I look forward to that occurrence.

I do not believe Congress should set arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal of our armed forces. That second-guesses our generals and plays into the hands of the enemy. However, I also believe we cannot become a crutch for foreign governments. They must provide for their own security as soon as possible.