Given the current terrorism threats facing the United States, the House Homeland Security Committee established the Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States in February 2017. Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) appointed Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) as Task Force Chairman to lead a group of five Republican lawmakers to shut down terrorist pathways into the United States. In addition to following up on the work done by the Committee’s previous bipartisan Task Force, this new Task Force was charged with: examining how terrorists might infiltrate the homeland; identifying challenges with current U.S. government information sharing and vetting procedures; reviewing the screening agencies’ structure and bureaucracy; and providing substantive recommendations to fix any weaknesses in these systems.
The Republican Members of the Task Force include:
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Task Force Chairman
Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA)
Rep. John H. Rutherford (R-FL)
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Ex Officio Advisor
H.R. 4569 – Counterterrorism Information Sharing Improvement Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), requires the U.S. government to better coordinate the sharing of counterterrorism information.
H.R. 4555 – DHS Interagency Counterterrorism Task Force Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL), authorizes DHS personnel to participate in overseas interagency counterterrorism task forces.
H.R. 4564 – Post-Caliphate Threat Assessment Act of 2017, introduced by Clay Higgins (R-LA), requires a threat assessment on current foreign terrorist fighter activities.
H.R. 4581 – Screening and Vetting Passenger Exchange Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop best practices for utilizing Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Record data for counterterrorism screening and vetting operations.
FOX News Opinion: Rep. Mike Gallagher: Time for Congress to tackle terror
“As threats continue to grow abroad, terrorists remain dead set on infiltrating our country and striking us here at home. The threat is persistent, adaptive, and undeniable… To face these challenges head-on, I am leading a bipartisan Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States. The Task Force’s responsibility is to identify common-sense security improvements we can make to ensure that terror suspects do not slip into the United States undetected. Among other things, this Task Force will investigate the key pathways by which extremists might enter our nation: manipulating our lawful visa system, exploiting the visa waiver program, posing as refugees or asylum seekers, and entering the country illegally.”
FOX News Opinion: Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul: Manchester attack’s brutal reminder – We must keep terrorists from our shores
“We cannot wait until the next large scale tragedy to improve America’s defenses. That is why I have established a Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States, which is investigating ways to bolster our security against terrorists attempting to reach America. This bipartisan Task Force, led by Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), had its first hearing earlier this month and will identify ways to improve America’s counterterrorism posture against foreign threats.”
Read the full report, here.
Read the Committee’s full report on 114th Congress’ Task Force on Combatting Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel, here.