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

May 7, 2021 Press Release


WASHINGTON – Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09), Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Bobby L. Rush (IL-01) will hold a virtual forum on the FBI’s notorious COINTELPRO program recently featured in the Academy Award-winning film “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which dramatizes the FBI-orchestrated assassination of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton in 1969. The forum will be on Monday, May 10, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern time.

April 14, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure and Judiciary Committees,  has reintroduced the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Second Screening Act. The bill would permit passengers being screened at TSA checkpoints to opt for a second electronic screening, rather than an automatic physical pat-down, when they believe they have produced a false positive result because of inadvertent movement or mistakenly having a foreign object in a pocket.

March 24, 2021 Press Release


MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, today presided at a hearing on “the Need to Expand Eligibility Under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.” The hearing explored the impact of downwind and other radiation exposure from nuclear bomb testing and uranium mining and other uranium workers during the Second World War and during the Cold War, and the need to compensate the many victims not currently eligible under RECA.

March 18, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today voted for, and the House passed, the Dream and Promise Act, providing a path to citizenship for young people brought to this country as children. Before the vote, Congressman Cohen spoke from the House floor during debate on the measure.

In those remarks, he said, in part:

“These Dreamers are trained in America. They’ve been educated in America. They’re talented. They’re smart.

February 22, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today wrote to President Biden urging that he direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rescind its recently issued nationwide permit to Valero Energy and All Plains American for its proposed Byhalia Connection Pipeline. This pipeline cuts through historic, predominantly Black neighborhoods and crosses over the Memphis Sand Aquifer which could potentially irreparably contaminate the City of Memphis’ source of drinking water.  

The letter reads in part: 

January 26, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will receive a grant of $1,147,312 for emergency protective measures related to COVID-19 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In response to the ongoing pandemic, St. Jude has had to take extra precautions since all its patients are considered high-risk due to underlying health conditions or treatments which cause immune system compromise.

January 19, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, today expressed his appreciation and gratitude for the work of the U.S. Capitol Police, National Guard troops and federal and local law enforcement officials in ensuring the safety of the President-elect and Vice President-elect, Members of Congress, dignitaries and the public in preparation for Wednesday’s historic Inaugural events.

January 10, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN) today condemned the poor example set by President Trump in failing to wear a mask and in ridiculing those who follow guidelines set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thereby encouraging his supporters to endanger public health. He made the following statement: 

January 10, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today extended his condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of veteran U.S. Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood, who defended the Capitol during Wednesday’s insurrectionist attack and later died off-duty. This follows the Congressman’s statement Friday expressing his appreciation for the service of Officer Brian Sicknick, who was killed in the line of duty during Wednesday’s attack by Trump loyalists.