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

July 30, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), who was in the House Chamber Gallery when the rioters invaded the U.S. Capitol on January 6, fully supports the efforts of the Select Committee looking into the attack.

July 29, 2021 Press Release

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) tonight voted for a seven-bill “minibus” that includes major increases in spending for SNAP, WIC, school nutrition programs, the Small Business Administration, consumer protection agencies, veterans affairs and veterans medical services, rental assistance, housing for the elderly and transit programs. It also includes funding for many of his highest priority community project requests:

 

July 29, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), the Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today introduced the Transnational Repression Accountability and Prevention (TRAP) Act along with Ranking Member Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02). This bill is intended to end abuse of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) by autocrats misusing its detention mechanisms to pursue, harass, or persecute political opponents and dissidents with trumped up criminal charges.

 

July 28, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON –Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced that his former Congressional aide, William T. Connor IV, will be the Senior House Staff Representative at the Commission.

Co-Chairman Cohen made the following statement:

July 20, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON—Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (MD), Co-Chairman Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09), Commissioner Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), and Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01) today introduced the Revealing and Explaining Visa Exclusions for Accountability and Legitimacy (REVEAL) Act. The bill will allow the Secretary of State to publish the names of human rights abusers, like those responsible for the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, and kleptocrats barred from entry into the United States as a result of visa bans.
July 12, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, today expressed his support for the Biden Administration’s gun violence strategy and its work with Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis. Davis was among several municipal officials who met with Biden at the White House on Monday to discuss use of $350 million in American Rescue Plan funding dedicated to implementing proven violence-prevention policies.

 

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

 

June 30, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), who has served on the Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) since March 2011, was named Co-Chairman of the Commission by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The CSCE is also known as the Helsinki Commission.

Speaker Pelosi made the announcement this morning:

June 23, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congress Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, today applauded the approach being taken by the Biden-Harris Administration to address gun violence. The strategy implements preventative measures that are proven to reduce violent crime, and tackles the root causes – including by addressing the flow of firearms used to commit crimes. Memphis is one of 15 communities the administration identified that will use new American Rescue Plan funding to invest in proven community violence intervention programs.

June 10, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee and Chairman of its Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, today questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray about whether the agency is investigating former President Trump’s role in inciting the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In his exchange with the Director, Congressman Cohen said in part:

May 25, 2021 Press Release

SANTA FE, New Mexico -- Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today addressed remotely a meeting of the European Union – United States Parliamentary Consultation on Human Rights. He said he was speaking following the recent “unfortunate close call with authoritarianism” in the United States, and expressed concerns about the human rights outlook in Hong Kong, Belarus and Ukraine.

In his remarks, Congressman Cohen said in part: