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:
- Demand Accountability in Immigration Detention: To address our broken immigration detention policy, I have introduced the Accountability in Immigration Detention Act, which would create enforceable standards and improve conditions at immigration detention centers while encouraging alternatives to detention and the repeal of the detention bed mandate. The mandate is burdensome and adds to the unnecessary incarceration levels of immigrants into detention centers.
- Expressed Concerns with Department of Homeland Security & Immigrations and Customs Enforcement: Sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Johnson regarding targeted enforcement actions conducted by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) across the country. These raids specifically target women with children who fell under the “priorities” list of DHS, including individuals who arrived in the country after March 1,2014. The letter discussed the lack of due process afforded to many of these families, as well as the lack of transparency on the part of DHS/ICE.
- Ending Derogatory Depictions of Immigrants: Co-sponsored the Correcting Hurtful and Alienating Names in Government Expression (CHANGE) Act to remove offensive and inflammatory language characterizing immigrants as “aliens” from federal law. Instead, this bill changes the term to “foreign national”.
- Ensuring an Accessible Justice System: With our complex immigration system, many refugees from Central America are facing roadblocks and confusion when trying to navigate the justice system in the US. For that reason, I co-sponsored the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act of 2016. Under current US law, there is no right to appointed counsel in immigration removal proceedings. 70 percent of families with no representation are deported. This bill would alleviate this burden and require the government to appoint counsel, require the DHS to establish procedures to ensure legal orientation programs are available, create a case management project for court appearance rates, and require DHS to submit reports annually to Congress.
- Fighting to Keep Families Together: Signed an Amicus Brief to the U.S. Supreme Court expressing that President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs are authorized by existing laws passed by Congress. Once implemented, DAPA and DACA will be able to bring millions of families and children who are part of our communities and live in constant fear of deportation out of the shadows
- Reuniting American Families: Co-sponsored the Reuniting Families Act, legislation that addresses many of the donut holes with immigrants, including Korean Vets and family immigration backlogs. The bill increases immigration visas for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. It also increases annual per country (10% of annual total) and dependent area (5% of annual total) limits for employment-based and family-sponsored immigrant visas.
- Opening Doors for Immigrants: Co-sponsor of The American Dream Employment Act, allowing DREAMers to work on Capitol Hill.
- Securing Citizenship for Adopted Children: I introduced the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2016 with Representative Trent Franks. This legislation corrects the gap in current law by allowing access to U.S. citizenship for all individuals who were foreign-born and lawfully adopted by U.S. families. Unfortunately, not all adoptees were able to benefit from the legislation when it originally passed, as it was limited to apply only to minors age 18 and under. Adopted individuals should not be treated as second class citizens just because they happened to be the wrong age when the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 was passed.
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.
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More on Immigration Reform
Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will host a Town Hall on Saturday, March 4, 2017 in Seattle. Congressman Smith is looking forward to meeting with constituents and hearing all questions and concerns.
Who: Congressman Adam Smith
What: Rep. Smith is hosting a Town Hall event where constituents can meet and interact with the Congressman and voice concerns on issues of the budget, immigration, education, the economy, national security and more.
When: Saturday, March 4, 2017, 10:00 am to 11:30 am
Under the Executive Order titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” Mr. Ramirez should not have been a priority for detention by ICE. The letter seeks clarification of the changes to ICE’s enforcement priorities and the practices of ICE agents at the doors and in the homes of immigrants.
Congressman Smith to Host Town Hall in Seattle
“Any attempt by the Trump Administration to reverse course on long-standing protections afforded under the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is completely unacceptable. To deport those acting in accordance with DACA flies in the face of American ideals, and shuts the door on members of our communities who have done no harm. Anyone facing deportation proceedings must be afforded appropriate access to counsel, and their due process rights protected.
“President Trump’s executive order banning refugees is in clear contradiction of America values. I am pleased to see that a three-judge panel for the U.S.
The beginning of a new year is a time to reflect on both our accomplishments during the last year, as well as an opportunity to consider thoughtful questions about what the future may hold.
Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), made the following statement about the sacrifices and contributions made by holders of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) on behalf of the United States and its national security:
“President Trump's Friday afternoon executive order banning refugees is already wreaking havoc on countless individuals here in the United States and creating lasting repercussions for our country's international stature. Aside from the fact that the United States already has a very extensive vetting process for refugees, the White House's failure to issue guidance for the Department of Homeland Security, airport employees and airlines across the world is causing chaos, fear, and potentially irreparable harm to our international alliances.
“President Trump's reckless executive order on refugees and visa restrictions is contrary to America’s founding principles and threatens our nation's security. The President has chosen to act in direct contrast to our nation’s proud history of helping those in need. President Trump's actions will only create divisions within America, stoke fear and hate, and help recruit more terrorists and extremists to attack America, as well as our partners and friends.
“The immigration system in the United States is broken and needs to be reformed. Building unnecessary walls, attacking local law enforcement by threatening grant funding, demanding costly mass deportation, and damaging relationships with international partners is misguided and reprehensible. Instead, we must have a clear, humane and legal way for those who seek to come to our country to flee violence and instability, or seek new opportunities, to build a better life in the United States.