Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Homeland Security

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

November 8, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today applauded the introduction of the Stadiums Operating under New Guidance (SONG) Act in the U.S. Senate by Tennessee Senators Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts. The bill would give the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the authority to issue Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) for concerts and other events held at stadiums across the country. 

November 7, 2019 Press Release


WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today questioned witnesses about recent immigration raids in Mississippi and Tennessee at a field hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security in Jackson, Mississippi. 


November 6, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, will participate Thursday in a Committee on Homeland Security field hearing on “Immigration Raids: Impacts and Aftermath on Mississippi Communities” at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi. 

October 22, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, today questioned experts in election security and voter suppression about America’s efforts to combat election interference and ensure our voting systems are safe, accurate and fair. Congressman Cohen believes U.S. elections should be decided by U.S.

September 18, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, today questioned witnesses at a hearing on “Oversight on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).” Congressman Cohen expressed concern about seeking surveillance warrants based on activity protected under the First Amendment. Congressman Cohen asked representatives from the FBI and Department of Justice to audit their use of the law in surveilling racial, ethnic, and religious minorities.

September 17, 2019 Press Release


August 26, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) was pleased to see that his bill, the National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Extension Act, has been signed into law.

August 5, 2019 Press Release

Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) announced today that Memphis and Shelby County will receive grants totaling $799,048 from the Department of Homeland Security to make transportation infrastructure improvements to meet their maritime security and facility security plans. Memphis will receive $283,953 and Shelby County will receive $515,095. 

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: 

July 31, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, August 1, and Friday, August 2, Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) will join Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16), House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) and a delegation of 22 additional House Members to investigate the impact of Trump Administration immigration policies in and around El Paso, Texas. Congressman Cohen will also participate in a press conference at 5 p.m. Mountain Time (6 p.m. Central Time; 7 p.m.