Press Releases

Washington D.C.Yesterday, Congressman Adam Smith sent the following letter to Attorney General Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Nielson, and Health and Human Services Secretary Azar citing concerns with recent practices of detaining applicants for asylum at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, Washington. Today, Smith joined with Governor Jay Inslee, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and Reps Jayapal, DelBene, and Heck to bring attention to the disturbing rise in family separations. 

Following the news of the family separations, ahead of the Press Conference, Smith said, “I am deeply disturbed by reports that a number of women who are seeking asylum are being detained at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac after being separated from their children. Under the law, these families have the right to apply for asylum, and should not be torn apart while the process is taking place. I condemn the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance policy of separating immigrant families. This policy goes against the very ideals that our country was founded on, and I will continue to fight to keep families together.”

June 8, 2018

 

The Honorable Jeff Sessions                                The Honorable Kirstjen Nielsen

Attorney General of the United States                 Secretary of Homeland Security

United States Department of Justice                     United States Department of Homeland Security

Washington, DC 20530                                        Washington, DC 20528

 

The Honorable Alex M. Azar II

Secretary of Health and Human Services

United States Department of Health and Human Services

Washington, DC 20416

Dear Attorney General Sessions, Secretary Nielsen, and Secretary Azar:

I write regarding reports that potentially over 100 women seeking asylum are being detained at the Federal Detention Center (FDC) in SeaTac, Washington. Reports have also indicated that these individuals arrived in Washington state after being separated from their children and transferred from the U.S.-Mexico border by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). I am extremely concerned that the Administration is violating longstanding asylum law and infringing on the due process of these women, while inflicting lasting harm to their families and children.

It has also come to my attention that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has entered into Inter-Agency Agreements with ICE to detain individuals at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Sheridan, Oregon, the FCI in Phoenix, Arizona, the Federal Satellite Low (FSL) in La Tuna, Texas, and the FCI in Victorville, California, in addition to the FDC in SeaTac. As the Administration prepares to separate more families and hold parents away from their children in federal detention facilities across the country, I request the following information to better understand these new developments in immigration detention protocol:

  • Where are the children of the parents being detained at SeaTac and other prisons across the country?
  • What are the current policies in place for housing and caring for the sudden large number of children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border?
  • What are you doing to ensure parents and children are transferred to locations within close proximity to each other?
  • Since these individuals have the legal right to seek asylum, why are they being held in federal prison while their asylum claims are being processed?
  • Do the detained people have access to legal services? What are you doing to ensure they know their legal rights as asylum seekers?
  • When will the people detained at SeaTac and other federal prisons be released and when will they be reunited with their children?
  • What protocol do you have in place to reunite parents with their children?

In addition to answering these questions, I urge you to immediately halt the terribly inhumane policy of separating children from their parents and work diligently to reunite families. This “zero tolerance policy” goes against basic human dignity.

Thank you for your time and attention to this critical issue, and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

 

Adam Smith

Member of Congress

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A PDF Version of the letter can be found HERE.

Washington D.C.Congressman Adam Smith issued the following video statement in support of Net Neutrality. Below is the text of the statement, and the full video statement can be viewed HERE.

Congressman Smith has taken the following actions to protect access to the internet in advance of, and following, the Federal Communication Commission decision to end Net Neutrality in late 2017:

  • Original co-sponsor of H.J.Res. 129 – Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval. H.J.Res 129 allows Congress to use a less cumbersome procedure to negate the FCC’s rule change than passing a bill through the regular legislative process; if enacted, would reverse the FCC’s decision to discard the 2015 Open Internet Rules, thereby maintaining net neutrality.
  • Signed Discharge Petition for H.J.Res. 129, the CRA joint resolution of disapproval – to bring the resolution to the House Floor for a vote.
  • Co-sponsor of H.R. 4585, the Save Net Neutrality Act of 2017 –  legislation that would have prohibited the FCC from adopting the so-called “Restoring Internet Freedom” order that overturned Net Neutrality.
  • Joined a letter with Rep. Mike Doyle and over one hundred other Members of Congress in calling on FCC Chairman Pai to delay implementation of the repeal of net neutrality.
  • Independently weighed in with (by letter) the FCC Chairman to convey the sentiments of the thousands of constituents who wrote in asking the FCC to reject the order to eliminate net neutrality regulations.

Transcript of Video Statement

Net neutrality is an incredibly important issue. It sounds complicated at first glance, in terms of how do you regulate the internet, what’s involved. But what’s really involved is the freedom of the internet, and that’s incredibly important. Net neutrality needs to be protected. And what it means is very simple. It means that everybody has equal access to the internet. What the FCC has done under President Trump, is they have allowed companies to give out special access, so that companies may be more easily to get their content to the user on the internet. This undermines innovation and undermines freedom. Say you’ve developed a brand new application that you think could compete with, Google, Yahoo, anybody. But now your website gets to the consumers slower because some other content provider has paid more to the people that provide access to the internet; to get faster access. 

Well that undermines innovation, that undermines freedom, and it stifles the best parts of the internet, which are creativity and innovation. We need to restore net neutrality in any way that we can. We need to keep putting pressure on the FCC to change their ruling, and if we can do stuff on the state level to at least give us net neutrality locally, we should do that as well. I cannot possibly be in more strongly in support of net neutrality. I urge people to speak out as loudly as they can to get us back to the place where we have net neutrality and a free and open internet for all.

Washington D.C.Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in honor of Memorial Day, observed on Monday, May 28, 2018.

“On Memorial Day, we honor the men and women who serve our country, and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of our country. On this day, we express our gratitude to the servicemembers who work to secure peace throughout the world.

“As Ranking Member on the Armed Services committee, I will continue to fight for servicemembers and their families, ensuring they receive the support and resources they have earned. Memorial Day serves a uniting force in America, in which every American can reflect on the American values that make our country strong and prosperous. I join our entire country in honoring our veterans who lost their lives while preserving our freedom.”

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to provide for noise mitigation for the Highline School District. Amendment #538 clarifies that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can provide funding for noise mitigation to schools that are outside the current noise contours if the FAA entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the schools before September 2002.

“Highline School District has been working tirelessly to meet the terms of the agreement with the FAA to help mitigate noise pollution that the schools experience. Today’s amendment, crafted with bipartisan support and in coordination with the House Transportation Committee will help ensure that promises made to our local schools are kept. Having grown up in SeaTac myself, I know it is important to fight for our children’s right to a safe and healthy learning environment.”

Background:

Smith authored the amendment to ensure that funding for noise mitigation agreed upon in a 2002 MOA between the Port of Seattle, the FAA, and Highline School District was provided to two remaining schools that were recently deemed ineligible for funding. Since the MOA was signed, the noise contours around the airport changed, leaving the two schools in areas where the FAA could not legally provide mitigation despite the prior agreement being in place. This amendment will allow for the FAA to provide the promised funding to the remaining schools so that they can acquire insulated doors, windows, and other forms of sound mitigation.

on D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith spoke on the House Floor during debate of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act:

Click here and look below for House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith’s remarks on fiscal responsibility and the FY 19 defense bill: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4730838/rep-adam-smith-debates-fiscal-responsibility-fy19-ndaa

Click here and look below for Smith’s remarks on nuclear weapons and the FY 19 defense bill: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4730832/rep-adam-smith-debates-nuclear-weapons-fy19-ndaa

Click here for Smith’s full opening remarks in debate on the FY 19 defense bill: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4730829/rep-adam-smith-debates-fy19-ndaa

Remarks on fiscal responsibility:

"In these times of scarce resources, it is incredibly important that we get the most out of what we spend. On that point: I do worry about the future, from a fiscal standpoint. We are right now spending roughly 20% more money than we take in every year, and that is projected to go up. The debt-to-GDP ratio is over 100% and, again, is projected to only go up. 

"Now we’ve got the deal for FY 18 and FY 19, which gives some degree of predictability for our military and that’s good. Because the last, gosh, eight years now we have gone from CR to CR, a couple government shutdowns, a number of threatened government shutdowns, and a large amount of unpredictability. Which is a problem for the entire discretionary budget, not just the Department of Defense. Every other department that is dependent on the discretionary budget has lived with uncertainty. That makes our government less efficient and less effective. We need to lock in more predictability. 

"Now, traditionally at this point, this is when everyone says that the Budget Control Act and the budget caps have got to go. And I agree with that. The problem is you get rid of the budget caps, you get rid of the Budget Control Act—and we certainly should: that was passed back in 2011 and it wasn’t even passed for a good reason back then—but even if you get rid of those caps, it doesn’t make money magically appear

"We still have the debt and the deficit that we are facing. We still have the crushing needs that we have, not just in the Department of Defense, but in infrastructure and research and education and a whole bunch of critical areas to the health and well-being of our country. 

"Somehow in the next few years--and I’ll admit I was joking when someone talked about his fiscal hawk credentials that I’m wondering if anybody has fiscal hawk credentials at this point when you look at the debt and deficit--we have got to get that in order. Now I don’t think we’re going to balance the budget tomorrow. I don’t think we should—I think the impact on the economy would be devastating. But we’ve got to get on a glide path to a more fiscally sustainable situation or we are headed for trouble. I simply don’t believe that you can spend 20% more money than you take in, forever, and have it not be a problem. 

"And everything you want to know about how big a problem this is is contained in three votes that I think we took over a one-month, couple-month period. There are many, many members of Congress who voted for the tax cut, which estimates are it’s going to reduce our revenue by $2 trillion; for the spending agreement, which increased our spending by $500 billion; and then a week later they voted for a balanced budget amendment. To say that that’s a math problem is the understatement of the evening. 

"It doesn’t add up. We all say we want to balance the budget, we don’t want to raise taxes, we don’t want to cut spending. That doesn’t work, and a lot of different aspects of our government pay a price for that, but the Department of Defense is one of the biggest. As the largest portion of the discretionary budget, they pay the highest price when we don’t get ourselves on a fiscally responsible path, and national security is at least one of if not the most important function that our government needs to provide. 

"So I think FY 18 and FY 19, those are good deals, but building for the future, we have got to get on a fiscally responsible path. But again within this bill, and you’ve heard a lot of it from our members, there are a lot of good policies that I think are going to make a very positive difference in terms of making our Department of Defense work better, and most importantly providing for the men and women who serve our country and their families."

Remarks on nuclear weapons:

"The one thing that I would point out that is the most troubling to me is the endorsement of the Nuclear Posture Review that was just put forward by the administration. I am very concerned, number one, that we are spending too much money on our nuclear weapons arsenal going forward, and what impact will that have on those other needs that I mentioned just a minute ago?: What impact will that have on readiness? What impact will it have on our ability to have the forces forward deployed enough to deter Russia, to deter North Korea, to deal with China’s rise in Asia?

"So I think we are overemphasizing nuclear weapons, number one, in terms of the amount of money that we are spending on them, but equally as troubling, this bill authorizes low-yield nuclear weapons for the first time in a very long time. It even authorizes a low-yield nuclear weapon for our submarines. I believe that puts us down a dangerous course. We need to make sure we are deterring any possibility of nuclear war.

"There is a huge risk as Russia rises back up, with what North Korea is doing, now that we’re not in the nuclear agreement with Iran—what they might be doing—that we must avoid miscalculation and stumbling into a nuclear war. Thinking that there is such a thing as a tactical nuclear weapon, a weapon small enough that it doesn’t really rise to the level of the other nuclear weapons, I think is a mistake. And, yes, I know Russia is building them. So the question is how do we deter Russia?

"Well, I think we deter Russia in a very straightforward way. We have over 4,000 nuclear warheads. We have more than enough nuclear firepower to present a credible deterrent to what they are doing. We don’t have to say, well, if you use a small nuclear weapon, we won’t want to use a bigger one in response. We want to say that our deterrence is, if you cross the red line of all red lines and use a nuclear weapon, we will respond overwhelmingly. We want to make sure it never happens.”

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