Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas) was featured in an Immigration Newsmaker conversation hosted by the Center for Immigration Studies on Wednesday, September 5, at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club.
Rep. Smith, who announced his retirement earlier this year, has been a leader in the nation's immigration debate for more than 30 years. He was elected to represent the 21st District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives in the same week that President Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the amnesty whose consequences are with us still.
The only current member of Congress to have been chairman of three committees, Rep. Smith has left his mark in a wide variety of areas. But the depth and longevity of his influence on the immigration debate stands out. Having served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee and its Immigration Subcommittee, member of the Homeland Security Committee, and founder of the Border Security Caucus, Rep. Smith has been a driving force behind major immigration legislation, including the Immigration Act of 1990, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the REAL ID Act of 2005, the Secure Fence Act of 2006, and most recently, the Legal Workforce Act, which would mandate use of E-Verify.
The conversation was moderated by Mark Krikorian, the Center's executive director, and covered the history of immigration legislation and the challenges the country will face in upcoming years.
The Immigration Newsmaker series provides an opportunity for government agency heads, members of Congress, and other policymakers to discuss their priorities and explore the challenges they face. The events, held at the National Press Club, are seated, on-the-record conversations between the guest and a member of the CIS staff.