Reforming our immigration system is long overdue. Our current laws, regulations, and enforcement do not recognize the importance of sound immigration policies to our economy and national security. We cannot afford to wait any longer to reform our immigration system in a comprehensive way.
Immigration is one of the great strengths for our nation. People from all over the world have come to our country because they see opportunity in America and a chance to build a better life for themselves and their families. The hard work and talent of immigrants have helped grow our economy and have strengthened our country for all Americans.
Legal immigration is not an obstacle to growth, but rather supplements our economic competitiveness and American jobs by attracting needed workers, high-skilled entrepreneurs, and investors. This can all be accomplished while keeping families together in a way that is consistent with American values.
I have advocated on behalf of immigrants through supporting key legislation and other advocacy efforts during my time in Congress:
- Reforming our Deeply Flawed Immigration Detention System: Together with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) I introduced H.R. 3923, the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, legislation to reform the systemic problems in our immigration detention system. Our current system is inhumane, unjust, and driven by private, for-profit corporations like The GEO Group, which operates the Northwest Detention Center located in Tacoma, Washington. This bill will end the use of private facilities and repeal mandatory detention, while restoring due process, oversight, accountability, and transparency to the immigration detention system.
- Standing up to the Trump Administration’s dangerous executive orders banning refugees: I am an original cosponsor of the SOLVE Act and the SOLVE 2.0 Act, which would bar any federal spending on President Trump’s harmful travel bans. I have condemned these executive orders in the strongest possible terms and remain dedicated to supporting refugees and immigrants in our communities.
- Defending DACA and Keeping Families Together: I am strongly opposed to the President’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and have taken action to defend DREAMers and other immigrant youth. I am a cosponsor of the DREAM Act, and an original cosponsor of the American Hope Act, in support of providing a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other immigrant youth, who were brought here as children by no fault of their own. I also sent a letter to the president along with other members of the Washington delegation, urging the President to work with Congress to pass legislation to protect DREAMers. I cosigned a letter to then-Secretary Kelly, condemning his suggestion that border agents may separate children from their families when attempting to cross the border. I am committed to supporting immigrant youth and keeping families together.
- Ensuring an Accessible Justice System: I am an original cosponsor of the Access to Counsel Act, which would make certain that those held or detained while attempting to enter the United States are guaranteed access to legal counsel. Under current US law, there is no right to appointed counsel in immigration removal proceedings. 70% of families with no representation are deported. This bill would ensure access to counsel for noncitizens and unaccompanied children who are detained at airports, ports-of-entry, and detention centers.
- Opposing discrimination against immigrants: Cosponsor of the Freedom of Religion Act, which would prohibit travelers, refugees, and immigrants from being denied entry to the United States based off their religion or lack of religious beliefs.
- Supporting sanctuary cities and local immigration policies: I am an original cosponsor of the Safeguarding Sanctuary Cities Act. This legislation would ensure that any state or local authority cannot lose federal grant funding if it limits or restricts compliance with an immigration detainer request. Seattle is at risk for having federal funds cut as a self-identified “sanctuary city.” Stripping sanctuary cities of funding for not complying with certain federal immigration laws is unconstitutional and would only harm our communities.
The immigration system in the United States is broken and needs to be reformed. I am dedicated to fixing the system. Allowing for immigrants to become productive members of our society will only strengthen our communities, our economy, and our country's future.
For more information on this issue, sign up to receive Congressman Smith’s email updates.
More on Immigration Reform
|12/7/18||Smith Statement on Extended Border Deployment|
|11/29/18||Smith, Cantwell, Murray and Jayapal Request Inspector General Investigations into Conditions at the NWDC|