Homeland Security and Defense


“My most important job is keeping our community and our country safe and doing so in a way that reflects American values, not fear and hate.”

As Vice Chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, maintaining the safety and security of Illinois communities is Congresswoman Underwood’s number one priority. On the Homeland Security Committee, she brings her background in emergency response and preparedness to help protect America from natural disasters and emerging threats in the areas of cybersecurity and bioterrorism.

Congresswoman Underwood has introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3526, the Counter Terror Network Act, to strengthen U.S. border security and counterterrorism efforts.

Congresswoman Underwood believes in fixing our nation’s broken immigration system with policies that protect American jobs and communities while aligning with our moral values. She has traveled to the U.S.–Mexico border multiple times to observe and provide oversight of the inhumane, unacceptable humanitarian crisis, and strongly opposes to the Administration’s family separation policy.

In response to what she learned at the border, Congresswoman Underwood introduced the U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screening and Standards Act (H.R. 3525) to ensure migrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border are appropriately and consistently screened for treatable conditions. Furthermore, H.R. 3525 instructs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish an electronic health record (EHR) system to streamline the medical screening process and to allow medical information to be easily shared across all DHS components.

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More on Homeland Security and Defense

March 17, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON— Yesterday, Representative Lauren Underwood (IL-14) urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to prioritize supporting the COVID-19 vaccination rollout across the nation, including in northern Illinois.

January 21, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON— Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) released the following statement announcing she will vote in support of the waiver for General Lloyd J. Austin, III to serve as United States Secretary of Defense.

November 19, 2020 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., today introduced a bill to strengthen oversight of the cybersecurity of federal agencies. 

In 2015, Congress required federal civilian agencies to implement cybersecurity best practices, like data encryption and two-factor authentication. The agencies, however, have the ability to issue themselves blanket, indefinite waivers for these cybersecurity measures.

October 6, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON— Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation, is urging executives at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to address ongoing reports of election-related disinformation targeting Black voters on their platforms. During the 2016 election, social media platforms were used by malicious actors attempting to silence Black voters and sow racial division. Four years later, social media companies have made too little progress toward containing this growing

September 25, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON—Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) was appointed by House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G.

July 23, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON— Today, Representative Lauren Underwood (IL-14) supported the passage of the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act to reverse the Trump Administration’s Muslim travel bans. The NO BAN Act, led by Representative Judy Chu (CA-27) and cosponsored by Underwood, rescinds all three versions of the President’s Muslim ban, restores the separation of powers by limiting overly broad executive authority to issue future travel bans, and prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion.

July 22, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON— Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, slammed Peter Gaynor, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), on the Administration's failure to effectively respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. During the hearing, Underwood questioned Administrator Gaynor on FEMA's capacity to effectively manage an emergency of this scale as equipment shortages continue.

July 15, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON— Yesterday, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, continued her fight to deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to Illinois health care providers and frontline working during the coronavirus pandemic. In a Homeland Security Committee hearing examining the federal response to the pandemic, Underwood questioned Craig Fugate, former Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other witnesses on the Administration’s failure to meet critical needs for PPE across the country.

July 8, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON— Today, Representative Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Vice Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, welcomed Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker for a virtual hearing on the federal response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In her questioning, Underwood highlighted Illinois’s response to the pandemic and emphasized the importance of expert guidance and coordination at the federal level. Additionally, Underwood advocated for additional federal resources for state and local officials to ensure that schools can safely reopen for students, teachers, and their families.

June 18, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON— Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) released the following statement on the Supreme Court decision on the Trump Administration-backed lawsuit to rescind protections for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, commonly known as DACA.