Press Releases

Congressman Smith Statement on Immigration and Customs Enforcement Actions

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith issued the following statement on the recent raids conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement targeting families from South and Central America:

January 7, 2016

“I am extremely disturbed by recent accounts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) actions in several states that are specifically targeting undocumented women and children from South and Central America. It has been reported that these raids have already resulted in the detention of 121 individuals, including in many cases, individuals who were not originally the focus of targeted enforcement actions. Today, I sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson to raise my serious concerns about these activities and to call for additional information to be made public about the agency’s actions.

“I am particularly troubled that in carrying out sweeping new enforcement activity, individuals may not be fully afforded their rights to due process. Many of the families who are the reported targets of ongoing ICE enforcement came to the United States after fleeing extreme violence in their home countries.  Many may now be returned to extraordinarily dangerous situations without being afforded all opportunities to seek asylum in the United States. These families, particularly children, are a vulnerable population and must be afforded the guarantee of access to all avenues in our judicial and immigration systems.

“Additionally, I am extremely alarmed and frustrated by the lack of transparency about ICE’s actions and the poor communication between ICE, DHS, and Congress. ICE and DHS have fallen far short of being forthcoming with the public, affected communities, and Congress about the policy objectives and impacts of these enforcement activities, or whether those targeted by the raids have had full access to legal options. American values demand that we afford due process and legal protections in all circumstances.

“These DHS and ICE actions, and the resulting deportations are just the latest example of the very serious need to reform our nation’s immigration system. We cannot afford to wait any longer and I remain committed to and focused on enacting comprehensive immigration reform so that families can remain together and our nation is kept safe.” 

January 14, 2016 UPDATE:

On January 8, 2016, immediately following my letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, I joined 146 of my colleagues in urging the President to suspend removal operations of Central American refugee women and children, granting them Temporary Protected Status. It is crucial that a comprehensive refugee strategy is put into place by the Administration to provide adequate screening, meaningful legal counsel and due process, and a comprehensive regional approach that will help to ensure these individuals are treated fairly and have a chance to live in safety.


Declaración del Representante Smith sobre las Acciones del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE)

7 de enero de 2016

Contact: Rebecca Bryant, 202-225-8901

“Me encuentro extremadamente perturbado por los reportes recientes sobre las acciones del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas en varios estados que son enfocadas hacia mujeres y niños de centro y sudamérica.

Según reportes, las redadas han resultado en la detención de 121 individuos, incluyendo en varios casos, individuos quienes no eran el enfoque de acciones dirigidas. Hoy, mande una carta a Jeh Johnson el  Secretario del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS) para expresar mis inquietudes sobre estas acciones y pedirle que la agencia haga pública información suplementaria sobre su operación.

En particular me preocupa que en el proceso de llevar a cabo nuevas actividades de control, los sujetos pueden haber sido despojados de sus derechos judiciales. Muchas de las familias quienes son los sujetos de acciones en marcha de ICE vinieron a los Estados Unidos huyendo de la violencia extrema en sus países. Ahora muchos pueden serán regresados a situaciones extremadamente peligrosas sin haberles otorgado la oportunidad de buscar asilo en los Estados Unidos. Estas familias, particularmente los niños, son una población vulnerable y se les debe de ofrecer acceso a todas las oportunidades en nuestro sistema judiciales y migratorio.

Adicionalmente, estoy extremadamente alarmado y frustrado con la falta de transparencia en las acciones de ICE y la falta de comunicación entre ICE, DHS, y el Congreso. ICE y DHS no han entablado comunicación con el público, las comunidades afectadas ni con el Congreso para dar a conocer los objetivos e impacto de sus actividades, o si los afectados de las redadas tuvieron acceso a sus derechos legales. Los valores de nuestro país requieren que le demos bajo cualquier circunstancia derechos judiciales y protecciones legales a todas las personas.

Estas acciones de DHS e ICE, y los resultados de las deportaciones son el ejemplo más reciente de la necesidad de reformar nuestro sistema migratorio. No podemos permitir esperar más tiempo y sigo determinado y enfocado en promulgar una reforma migratoria para que familias puedan permanecer unidas y nuestro país sea un país seguro.


Actualización 14 de Enero, 2016:

El 8 de enero de 2016, inmediatamente después de mi carta al Secretario de Seguridad Nacional Jeh Johnson, me uní con 146 de mis colegas para pedirle al Presidente que suspenda las operaciones de deportación de mujeres y niños refugiados de Centroamérica, dándoles protección temporal. Es crucial que la Administración lleve a cabo una estrategia comprensiva para refugiados que incluya la verificación de antecedentes, asistencia legal y un enfoque  regional comprensivo que ayudará a asegurar que estos individuos sean tratados justamente y tengan la oportunidad de vivir de manera segura.

Congressman Smith Statement on President Obama’s Executive Actions to Prevent Gun Violence

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement after President Obama announced a series of steps to address gun safety:

January 5, 2016

“I support the executive actions taken by the President today that are necessary to address the epidemic of gun violence facing our nation. These changes will help to limit senseless gun violence and keep our communities safe.

“America has been witness to horrific acts of violence that we can no longer continue to ignore. These executive actions support policies and efforts to reduce gun violence in our communities.  They will increase the number of critical background checks that are completed prior to an individual purchasing a firearm - keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals and those seeking to do us harm. Additionally, the President’s actions focus on increasing both mental health treatment and the frequency of reporting data to the national background check system - as well as supporting the future development of gun safety technologies.

“Ultimately, addressing gun violence is both a legal and cultural problem that must be addressed at every level of our society. We must do more to understand the potential causes and threats presented by gun violence in our nation, and engage in conversations with communities and law enforcement.  Any changes in federal law will require strong support and action from the American public. As a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I will continue to support legislative and executive branch policy proposals to protect our children and communities.

“These executive actions, alone, are not enough. The President is committed to addressing gun violence.  Congress must fulfill its responsibility to protect Americans by enacting commonsense gun safety reforms. Reasonable reforms are attainable; in Washington state, we now require universal background checks for gun purchases. We must have a comprehensive, national plan to fully address the gun violence problem we face and I will work with my colleagues in Congress to address the crisis of gun violence afflicting our nation.”

Congressman Smith Statement on Retirement of Congressman Jim McDermott

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement today after Congressman Jim McDermott announced he would not seek re-election to Congress this year:

January 4, 2016

“Throughout his career as a psychiatrist, member of the United States Navy, and as an elected official, Jim McDermott has always put service above self. As one of the strongest progressives in the United States Congress during his 14-term tenure, Jim has served his constituents in Washington's 7th congressional district with vigor, grace, and tenacity.

"Jim's dedication to ensuring people were able to live better and more productive lives led him to be a leading proponent for legislation that continues to positively impact our country. His dedication to seeing the Affordable Care Act implemented saw Americans, for the first time, having meaningful access to high-quality health care. He also helped make important changes to our foster care system that now keeps siblings together and gives kids health care resources after they turn 18 years old. As a psychiatrist for the United States Navy, Jim knew the importance of supporting our veterans, and was a leading advocate for veterans' mental health and suicide prevention programs.  

"Throughout his time serving the public in the Washington State Legislature to his tenure in Congress, Jim has been a tireless advocate for our region. Jim’s voice will be missed in our Washington state delegation, and I thank Jim for his service and friendship.”

Congressman Smith Statement on Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith issued the following statement on the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus bill passed by the House and Senate today:

December 18, 2015

“Today I voted to pass the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The bill provides for $1.067 trillion of discretionary spending, following the two-year budget agreement signed into law in October 2015, as well as $73.693 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds. The Omnibus bill passed by the House and the Senate today funds our national and economic security for the next year, and is an important step towards Congress fulfilling its responsibility to the American people to meet our fiscal obligations for the next year. 

“The Omnibus bill includes funding for programs that invest in our future and support education, encourage economic growth, and modernize our infrastructure. It is reassuring that Republicans showed a willingness to compromise and removed a number of ideological riders that were debated throughout the failed FY 2016 appropriations process earlier this year. This Omnibus bill and the certainty it will provide our economy, the Department of Defense, and the entire federal government is preferable to governing from budget crisis to budget crisis. The agreement provides a one-year window of opportunity to address our core budget problems in the long-term.   

“Congress, together with the American people, must have an honest conversation about the budget realities that we face. We must use the time that this Omnibus bill provides to engage in productive conversations to agree to a long-term spending plan that supports the middle class and grow our economy.”

Congressman Smith Statement on Tax Extenders Legislation

Congressman Adam Smith issued the following statement on the tax extenders package:

December 17, 2015

“I voted against the tax extender bill considered in the House today because it is inequitable and leaves our nation’s finances worse off. The $622 billion tax package extends many tax breaks while ignoring the reality that we simply do not collect enough revenue to fund the important programs that help create a strong economy.

“While a number of helpful provisions are included, such as a permanent extension of both the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit and the State & Local Sales Tax Deduction, the enormous cost of this un-paid for bill and its impact on the deficit is concerning. Ultimately, positive aspects of this tax package do not come close to outweighing the legislation’s imbalanced priorities and decreased revenues. 

“Over the last fifteen years, we have cut revenue by trillions of dollars and seen our debt increase substantially while our infrastructure has suffered. If we hope to balance the budget while expanding economic opportunity, investing in innovation and infrastructure, and strengthening the working class, we must adopt a responsible tax system. We need sound and forward-looking policies to address our budget issues in a comprehensive way that properly balances spending priorities while raising revenue.”