It is important that we sufficiently protect our citizens within our borders and keep out those that would do us harm. Homeland Security is not just protecting our borders and screening the cargo that comes through our ports. It also includes providing adequate training and equipment for our first responders – police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel. These courageous people work on the front lines, often entering into dangerous and uncertain situations. Congressman Cohen is working hard to provide additional funds for our first responders.
Congressman Cohen strongly opposes President Trump’s executive order indefinitely banning Syrian refugees from entering the United States and temporarily halting all immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen executive order and originally spoke out against it on the House Floor on January 30, 2017. He believes it is unconstitutional and immoral. The United States does not - and should not - have religious tests. This hasty and unsound executive order makes the United States less safe. It will provide ISIS with additional propaganda against the United States. The order also singles out a small number of countries, but ignores others like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt from which individuals have been linked to actual terror attacks inside the United States.
Congressman Cohen is a cosponsor of the Statue of Liberty Values (SOLVE) Act, which would prevent the Administration from denying entry to immigrants and refugees based on race, religion, or nationality. This legislation does not weaken the existing vetting process. Everyone agrees that we should screen refugees to ensure that no one intent on doing harm is allowed into our country. That’s why it currently takes up to two years for applicants to be fully screened, and Congressman Cohen continues to support this screening process. Congressman Cohen was very disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the President’s travel ban on June 26, 2018.
On February 7, 2017, Congressman Cohen signed on a letter to the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General and Acting Officer for Civil Rights requesting an investigation into the Muslim Ban executive order.
Congressman Cohen voted against the against the Department of Defense Appropriations Act which includes $1.6 billion for construction of President Trump’s border wall, breaking the President’s promise to the American people that Mexico, and not taxpayers, would pay for it. The House of Representatives passed the bill on July 27, 2017 by a vote of 235-192.
Congressman Cohen is also a cosponsor of the Election Infrastructure and Security Promotion Act which directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate voting systems as critical infrastructure which would mean that election infrastructure becomes a priority within the National Infrastructure Protection Plan and prioritize cybersecurity assistance to state and local election officials, but only for those who request it. The bill directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct research to mitigate the consequences of threats to voting systems. The bill requires that the voting systems used in elections for Federal office to comply with national standards developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology for operational security and ballot verification.
Congressman Cohen wrote a letter to President Trump on October 17, 2017 expressing disappointment in his decision to set the presidential determination for refugee admissions at 45,000 for Fiscal Year 2018, urging the President to reconsider his determination and establish a minimum refugee admission level of 110,000 for Fiscal Year 2018, and expressing concern about the proposed changes to the resettlement process to require refugees to meet an assimilation standard.
Congressman Cohen wrote a letter to Secretary of State Pompeo and Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen on July 10, 2018 to set the Presidential Determination for Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2019 to 110,000.
War on Terror / Protecting the Home Front
Ensuring the safety of America and our allies is a matter that Congressman Cohen takes very seriously. This includes preventing weapons and military technology from falling into the hands of international terrorist organizations and governments that support these organizations. It is imperative that any arms sales meet strict criteria that would prevent weapons from falling into the hands of those who would use them against us, our allies or for terrorism purposes anywhere in the world. Congressman Cohen believes that extreme ideologies of all kinds are a serious concern to the safety of our nation and its citizens.
Congressman Cohen is a cosponsor of the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act. This bipartisan bill prohibits suspected terrorists on the no-fly list from buying guns or explosives.
Congressman Cohen is a cosponsor of the Reauthorization of the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System Act. The National Urban Search and Rescue Response System is used to locate, rescue, and provide initial medical stabilization to individuals who have been trapped in confined spaces due to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and large-scale accidents and emergencies. The authorization for this crucial program lapsed in 2008, but it has continued to receive appropriated funds every year since. In fiscal year 2018, this program received $35.2 million, the year before – $38.3 million. There is a Taskforce in Memphis.
Congressman Cohen is a cosponsor of the Port Security Grant Program Reauthorization Act. The National Port Security Grant Program is a key component of our national strategy to strengthen critical infrastructure against potential terrorist attacks. The authorization for this crucial program lapsed in 2013, but it has continued to receive appropriated funds every year since.
More on Homeland Security
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, today questioned election law and Russian intelligence experts about conclusions drawn by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his review of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. See his questioning of witnesses here.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, today voted to move a measure improving and extending the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund to the House floor.
On Tuesday, Congressman Cohen presided over a hearing on the compensation fund which examined the health consequences of the September 11, 2001, attack on first responders and people living and working near the targeted crash sites.
Congressman Cohen made the following statement:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today voted for and the House passed H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act, whose Dream Act portion of the bill establishes a process for eligible immigrants brought to the United States as children to apply for legal permanent residency. The Promise Act portion of the bill provides a path to legal permanent residency for individuals who held or were eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) on January 1, 2017. The vote was 237 to 187.
Congressman Cohen made the following statement:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a Member of the bicameral U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (known as The Helsinki Commission), today made the following statement commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
“NATO remains the most important and critical security link between the United States and Europe. NATO allies and partners in both Central and Eastern Europe have stood alongside the United States in joint peace operations in the Western Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) chaired the first hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties today for a hearing on the National Emergencies Act of 1976 and President Trump’s declaration of an emergency on the U.S.-Mexican border. See his opening statement here.
Afterward, Congressman Cohen said:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee lawmakers are responding to President Trump's decision to declare a national emergency at the border. This move will allow for more federal money for the wall at the U.S. Mexico border.
Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) said he does not believe that the President's declaration is supported by the facts. He went on to say that "Apprehensions at the border have been declining for the last 18years and the drugs that enter our country mainly come through established ports of entry, not remote border crossings."
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, today condemned President Trump’s declaration of a state of emergency on the U.S.-Mexican border and made the following statement:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) tonight voted for, and the House passed, a spending package that will likely avert another government shutdown. The package, which includes $1.375 billion for barriers and bollard fencing but none for the President’s requested border wall, will fund the departments and agencies covered by the Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior-Environment, State-Foreign Operations, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills through September 30.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) watched President Trump’s second State of the Union message to Congress on television at his office in the Rayburn House Office Building and released the following statement:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) reacted to news late this afternoon that President Trump has agreed to re-open agencies closed in the Trump Shutdown without the $5.7 billion border wall he had been demanding as a condition for ending payless paydays for 800,000 federal employees. The shutdown has lasted a record-breaking 35 days.
Congressman Cohen made the following statement: