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
“The United States has a proud history built on our founding as a nation of immigrants. Our existing immigration system is in dire need of reform, but the deeply prejudicial RAISE Act the President has endorsed is not the solution. This detestable proposal would slash our legal immigration program in half and keep families apart through dramatically altering our current family-based immigration system to a so-called merit-based program. The bill would also deny asylum to tens of thousands of refugees fleeing dangerous conditions and persecution.
“The “Security Minibus” appropriations bill the House is currently debating is completely disconnected from the realities that our country faces and the spending choices we must make. This spending package includes funding for the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Legislative Branch, Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, agencies of the Department of Interior, and several independent agencies.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it clear that the Trump Administration does not respect local jurisdiction’s understanding of how best to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of their residents. The Trump Administration has threatened to revoke or withhold critical public safety funds from communities in a clear act of misguided retribution.
“President Trump's latest executive order on refugees and visa restrictions is reckless and runs contrary to America’s founding principles. The President’s second attempt at a travel ban —after his previous order was found to be unconstitutional by two courts—shows a continued disregard for American values and a remarkable willingness to threaten our national security.
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.