Press Releases

Congressman Smith Statement Opposing the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Smith released the following statement after voting against H.R. 3697, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act:

September 14, 2017

“The Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act is an affront to due process that unfairly targets our immigrant communities. This anti-immigrant bill is a blatant effort to support the Trump Administration’s mass deportation agenda.   

“Republican leadership brought this overly broad legislation to the House floor with no hearings and no opportunity for amendments. Under this legislation, the term ‘criminal gang’ would be expanded to grant the Department of Homeland Security vague discretion to target individuals who have no proven gang affiliation. This low burden of proof will open the door to rampant racial profiling, and result in sweeping detention and deportation activities based on nothing more than a supposed belief of criminal activity. Additionally, the bill raises serious constitutional concerns, by allowing for religious and humanitarian aid workers to be classified as gang members simply for their efforts to shelter undocumented immigrants.  

“We should be working to enact better, evidence-based solutions to prevent dangerous gangs such as MS-13 from engaging in criminal activity. We should not be targeting vulnerable populations that are trying to escape life-threatening situations. I will continue to fight against legislation that promotes discrimination against immigrants and their families.” 

Congressman Smith Honors Veterans Service with Annual Veterans History Project

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement after his annual participation in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project:

September 14, 2017

“Our veterans have served this country bravely and courageously. Many veterans choose to live in the Puget Sound region after their service, and it is my honor to represent them in Congress. It is important that we remember the courage and commitment of the heroic men and women who protected us and fought to ensure our freedom.  In coordination with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, my office recently hosted our Second Annual Veterans History Project (VHP) at Seattle University. The goal of the VHP is to collect, preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of veterans who choose to share their life’s journey from civilian, to service member, to veteran.

“Together with volunteers from the Renton Wing of the Civil Air Patrol Cadets, my office was able to record personal accounts from over thirteen veterans at this year’s event. Through partnerships with veteran community stakeholders, the event also provided wraparound services for the veterans in attendance. Organizations like the Seattle University Student Veteran’s Community, Compass Housing Alliance, the Disabled American Veterans, Comcast, and Amazon were able to lend their expertise to veterans on employment, disability claims, housing opportunities, and education benefits and services in our community. As always, this event highlighted the importance of collecting the personal accounts of our nation’s unsung heroes. The VHP is one small way that we can honor our veterans’ sacrifice and bravery, by preserving their legacy.”  

 

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Photo Credit: Seattle University Veteran’s Community

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More photos from the event can viewed here: https://goo.gl/DRC6G9

The Office of Congressman Adam Smith will be recording oral histories from veterans in our community on a rolling basis throughout the year. Interested community members can contact the Renton, District office at 425.793.5180 and visit Congressman Smith’s website for further information on how to participate in the VHP.

https://adamsmith.house.gov/veterans-history-project

"Ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is irresponsible and contradicts who we are as Americans. DACA provides deportation relief to almost 800,000 immigrants, nearly 18,000 of who live in Washington state. These immigrant youth, known as DREAMers, represent a generation of immigrants who were brought to our country as children, through no fault of their own. Today, DREAMers are actively pursuing the American dream in many fields, including serving as members of the Armed Forces, and becoming teachers and doctors. President Trump’s decision to end DACA breaks our country’s promise of deportation relief to these law-abiding immigrant youth. This decision will only serve to tear families apart and undermine the important contributions of these young people to our country and our economy.   

"I am committed to supporting immigrant youth and keeping families together, and will fight with my colleagues in Congress, along with Governor Inslee and Attorney General Ferguson in Washington state to defend DACA. In response to the President’s failure of leadership in ending DACA, Congress must keep our country’s promise to DREAMers and stay true to our American values." 

to protect Dreamers.

Rescinding the DACA program will hurt more than 17,500 Washingtonians who have been granted DACA in Washington state.[1] Like many immigrants before them, these brave young people strengthen our economy and are valued members of our communities. DACA has allowed these young people to pursue their dreams to become teachers, doctors, and entrepreneurs. In addition, the program has provided these people the ability to support themselves and their families, relieving the fear of being ripped from the country where they grew up.

Elimination of this critical program will cost Washington state an estimated $1.1 billion in annual gross domestic product (GDP).[2] Nationally, the cruel end of this program will cost $460.3 billion in GDP over the next 10 years. Moreover, a majority of Americans—78 percent—support giving Dreamers the chance to stay permanently in the United States.[3] It is clear that ending this program is an unconscionable mistake. We urge you to take immediate steps to reverse course, and lessen the consequences of your decision.

All DACA recipients received a promise from the federal government that as long as they followed the law, the information they provided to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would not be used in immigration enforcement. Any change to this policy would have a chilling effect on individuals coming forward to pursue legal status for which they may be eligible. We strongly urge you to honor the promise the United States made to Dreamers who came out of the shadows and to not use information provided by DACA recipients to take enforcement actions.

Moreover, our state has long served as a leader in welcoming and protecting immigrants. Washington state has led the way to make certain that all residents have access to driver’s licenses, improved access to higher education for Dreamers as well as access to health care for children and refugees. Our economy and society are better for Washington state’s determination to create an inclusive society.

We urge you to reconsider your decision to repeal DACA and make sure that Dreamers’ application information is not provided to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In addition, we demand that you urge your Republican colleagues to work with us on bipartisan legislation that will provide protection to Dreamers and ensure their legal status does not lapse.

As you consider your next steps, we invite you to meet with Dreamers in our home state. We are certain that if you get to know these young people as we have, you will understand why your immediate action to protect these people is necessary.

Sincerely,

 

Patty Murray                                                               Pramila Jayapal

United States Senator                                                 Member of Congress

 

Maria Cantwell                                                           Adam Smith                           

United States Senator                                                 Member of Congress                         

           

Rick Larsen                                                                 Suzan DelBene

Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress  

           

Denny Heck                                                                Derek Kilmer

Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

 

cc: Jeff Sessions, Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice

Elaine Duke, Acting Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

 


[1] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Number of Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, by Fiscal Year, Quarter, Intake, Biometrics and Case Status Fiscal Year 2012-2017 (Jun. 8, 2017) available at: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Reports%20and%20Studies/Immigration%20Forms%20Data/All%20Form%20Types/DACA/daca_performancedata_fy2017_qtr2.pdf.

[2] Nicole Prchal Svajlenka, Tom Jawetz & Angie Bautista-Chavez, A New Threat to DACA Could Cost States Billions of Dollars, Center for American Progress (2017) available at: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/news/2017/07/21/436419/new-threat-daca-cost-states-billions-dollars.

[3] Morning Consult & Politico, Morning Consult National Tracking Poll #170409, April 20-24, 2017, Crosstabulation Results, available at: https://morningconsult.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/170409_crosstabs_Politico_v1_AG-2.pdf

“On Labor Day, we pay tribute to the American worker and their role in supporting a strong economy. In an ever-changing world, the contributions of the labor community make certain that the United States remains globally competitive. As the son of a union baggage handler at SeaTac Airport, I know firsthand how labor unions have helped generations of America’s working families thrive. 

“We must show America’s workers the same devotion they have shown to our society. Growing economic inequality is one of the defining challenges facing our economy and our country. The commitment of the labor movement to ensuring equality of opportunity is closely aligned with our efforts to enact legislation that will protect living wage jobs, lower health care costs, and ensure that future generations of Americans have the ability to build a better life for themselves and their families.”