Adam Smith Becomes an Original Cosponsor on Legislation to Reform Immigration Enforcement Policy and Terminate ICE
July 13, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Adam Smith (WA-09) today joined U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) in introducing the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act. The legislation would convene a commission of experts to provide a roadmap for Congress to implement a humane immigration enforcement system that upholds the dignity of all individuals, which includes terminating the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) within one year of enactment.
“We need to change the way we do immigration enforcement. Our current system is inhumane; it is separating children from their parents, deporting and detaining too many people, and ripping families apart. None of this is making us any safer. Unfortunately, Speaker Ryan is trying to demagogue the issue. This bill isn’t about stopping immigration enforcement or open borders. It is about shining a light on the injustices of our current system, and changing the way that we conduct immigration enforcement.”
“Across my district and throughout our country, ICE is ripping families apart. They are raiding workplaces, invading homes, showing up at courthouses, schools, and hospitals, detaining individuals indefinitely, and instilling fear throughout our communities. We must put a stop to this. President Trump has weaponized this agency to accomplish his racist and harmful agenda. To bring an end to these rampant human rights violations, we must terminate ICE and convene a commission of experts to make recommendations to Congress on the redistribution of ICE’s essential enforcement functions to other government agencies. ICE has strayed far from its original purpose and has failed to enforce immigration laws and protect national security in a humane and just way. I am proud to join several of my colleagues in cosponsoring this necessary legislation, and I will continue to fight to protect the dignity of all individuals.”
Congress created ICE in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks with the primary mission of preventing “acts of terrorism by targeting the people, money, and materials that support terrorist and criminal activities.” However, since then, ICE has become synonymous with immigration raids, home invasions, family separation, abusive detention practices, and chronic noncompliance with the law.
Recently, ICE agents themselves recognized the irreparable damage being done by President Trump’s actions when nineteen ICE agents wrote to Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, stating that investigations, “have been perceived as targeting undocumented aliens, instead of the transnational criminal organizations that facilitate cross border crimes impacting our communities and national security.” The authors of the letter agree that the agency is now failing to perform its core mission and that the best path forward would be to end it and start fresh.
Ending ICE and developing a more humane immigration system that complies with constitutional protections, domestic law, and binding international treaties, while treating every person with respect and dignity is a strong step forward.
The Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act would:
- Convene a commission of experts to provide a roadmap for Congress to implement a humane immigration enforcement system that upholds the dignity of all individuals. This will include transferring issues like organized crime, drug smuggling, and human trafficking to other government agencies that are well-equipped to handle them and have proven track records of transparency, accountability and compliance with the law;
- Prior to the termination of the agency, direct Congress to act on the recommendations authored by the commission, including the transfer of necessary functions to relevant agencies and the implementation of the new immigration enforcement regime; and
- Terminate the agency within one year of enactment.
The legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Jim McGovern (MA-02), José E. Serrano (NY-15), and Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07).
The bill text of the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act is available here.
A fact sheet on the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act is available here.
A section-by-section breakdown on the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act is available here.
Forty-Four Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committee Democrats Release Statement on Trump Meetings With NATO and Putin
July 10, 2018
“The so-called ‘compromise’ immigration bill that failed to pass the House of Representatives this week was not a compromise at all – not a single Democrat was consulted in the drafting of the bill. This bill had no significant differences from the Goodlatte bill, which also failed to pass last week. Neither piece of legislation presented any real solutions to fixing our broken immigration system, providing a path to citizenship for Dreamers, or reuniting children with their parents after being unjustly separated at the border.
“This administration and Republicans in Congress want you to believe that we only have two choices when it comes to immigration enforcement: we either must separate families and incarcerate immigrants, much like we did to Japanese Americans during World War II, or else we will have ‘open borders’ and rampant crime.
“To say that we are limited to only those options, and to refuse to bring up the multitude of legislative proposals that have bipartisan support, is deeply disingenuous. We have clear alternatives. We can process the asylum requests and use alternatives to detention for individuals and families awaiting their immigration proceedings, like the successful Family Case Management Program the President chose to abruptly end, despite its proven success. We can reunite families, give Dreamers a path to citizenship, and work together toward comprehensive immigration reform.
“The President has decided that we must be hostile to immigrants and Congressional Republicans have chosen to align themselves with his fear-mongering, xenophobic agenda. He is trying to use this as a wedge issue to misinform and terrify people, and we cannot allow him to do so.”
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement on the Supreme Court ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME case:
“Today’s Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court ruling is an attack on public sector workers and their right to organize and collectively bargain for better working conditions. The Court’s decision undermines unions’ ability to work on behalf of and be supported by those workers who benefit from collective representation.
“The ability to organize and collectively bargain for benefits is one of the most important advances in American labor law and has been a major factor in the creation of a robust middle class in our country. As the son of a union worker at SeaTac airport, I understand how important labor unions are in the lives of American workers and their families, and I strongly support workers' rights. I learned firsthand from my father, that the right to organize and bargain for better working conditions is extremely important. Labor unions contributed to the creation of America’s middle class, and today are one of the most important means by which working people can push back against economic forces that are increasingly rigged against the working class. At a time when the disparity of wealth is highest in our nation's recent history, labor unions should be able to advocate for expanding equality of opportunity and to support the fight for justice for all.
“I stand with unions and their continued efforts to improve the lives of hardworking Americans across the country.”