Press Releases

“President Trump’s decision to bring an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program disrespects America’s values. DACA has provided relief to nearly 800,000 immigrant youth, protecting individuals from deportation who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own. Known as DREAMers, these young people serve in our military, attend school, give back to our communities, and contribute to the American social fabric. After promising DACA recipients they could ‘rest easy,’ President Trump’s decision to end DACA defies our history as a nation of immigrants. I have long supported the DACA program and will continue to do everything in my power to protect DREAMers from deportation.

“DREAMers came out of the shadows and willingly gave their information to the government, trusting that they would be protected. Now their futures are in peril due the President’s heartless action. The Trump Administration’s nationalistic immigration policies continue to threaten our country’s principles, undermine the economy, and tear families apart.” 

Smith Statement on Trump Expansion of Program Giving Surplus Military Equipment to Law Enforcement Agencies

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement about President Trump’s announced expansion of surplus military equipment transfers to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies under the 1033 program:

August 28, 2017

“This is a dangerous decision. After a careful interagency review, the Obama administration halted the provision of surplus armored vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, large-caliber weapons, ammunition, and other specific equipment to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies for a reason. Providing these weapons can pose risks to our communities, undermine civil liberties, and improperly blur the line between military and civil authority.

“We should be especially concerned about handing this equipment to law enforcement agencies without proper training; processes to track where the equipment goes; and enforcement of rules that suspend law enforcement agencies from the program when they violate the law and civil rights.

“That is not an idle concern. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently found that the 1033 program’s controls for the federal law enforcement program were so inadequate that it provided potentially lethal controlled equipment to a fake Federal law enforcement agency. In the wake of that incident, I have called for the suspension of the program’s controlled-property transfers until adequate controls are in place.

“The demonstrated lack of controls in the 1033 program for federal law enforcement should give us additional pause regarding expansion of the program for state, local, and tribal agencies. While some transfers under the 1033 program are valuable, excessive militarization of our civilian police forces is highly inappropriate and we should not be repealing the safeguards established by the Obama administration, especially in the face of these documented problems and documented risks.”

“President Trump's pardon of Sheriff Arpaio is an affront to the rule of law and a deeply disturbing use of Presidential Power to sanction discrimination. As Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arpaio flagrantly ignored clear Federal immigration enforcement guidelines and aggressively pursued policies of racial profiling. His continued violation of civil rights led to a conviction in a court of law for his unlawful immigration practices. Trump's pardon is an endorsement of the bigoted and racists actions that led to Sheriff Arpaio's conviction, and undermines the pursuit of justice that our system of government is built on.”

Armed Services Ranking Member Smith Statement on Trump Transgender Ban

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement about President Trump’s order on transgender military service:

August 26, 2017

“This Presidential order is a cravenly opportunistic act of discrimination against men and women who volunteer to defend the United States. 

"President Trump has no credible information suggesting that transgender service undermines military readiness. Yet he is willing to ruin lives and deface our government’s commitment to equality in an apparent attempt to secure funding for his border wall. Apparently, if Mexico won’t pay for the wall, President Trump has decided that honorable men and women in uniform should pay instead as their service is traded away for funding. I oppose this decision in extremely strong terms, and we will fight for its reversal.”

LAWMAKERS CALL OUT SESSIONS FOR HOLDING CITY VIOLENCE PREVENTION FUNDS HOSTAGE TO HIS EXTREME IMMIGRATION AGENDA

Justice Department admits new “sanctuary cities” policy will impose additional costs on local law enforcement

August 24, 2017

d indicate a heightened degree of coerciveness to the Department’s actions.  Please list each Department of Justice grant, program, or initiative for which the Department has conditioned,         or plans to condition, local jurisdictions’ participation upon an assessment of compliance with the two new express conditions described on p. 30 of the Byrne-JAG solicitation form.
  •       Does the Department of Justice believe that Byrne-JAG funding has helped local law enforcement agencies increase public safety, including by preventing and reducing shootings and homicides in their jurisdictions? 
  •       On March 6, Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, wrote an op-ed in which he said that “police chiefs warn that if their agencies are required to enforce federal immigration             laws, it will hurt their ability to investigate and solve serious crimes in their communities.  If people are afraid to have contact with the local police, they will not report crime, serve as witnesses, or tell police what is             going on in their neighborhoods.  Without information from the community, investigating crime becomes difficult and crime levels rise.”[x]  How do the Justice Department’s two new express conditions avoid                 creating this dynamic that Mr. Wexler highlighted?  
  •       Is the Justice Department able to provide any credible evidence that demonstrates how redirecting local law enforcement resources to enforce civil immigration laws will bring about a significant reduction in shootings         and homicides in the City of Chicago?  If so, please detail any such evidence. 
  • Thank you for your attention on this important matter.   We look forward to your prompt response.

     

     

     

    [1] Sessions Confirmation Hearing Responses to Questions from Senator Durbin, Response 1.a, available at https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Sessions%20Responses%20to%20Durbin%20QFRs.pdf.

    [1] https://www.bja.gov/jag/index.html, accessed on August 4, 2017 (emphasis added).

    [1] Sessions Confirmation Hearing Responses to Questions from Senator Durbin at Response 1.b. 

    [1] https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-jeff-sessions-we-cannot-accept-these-levels-violence-chicago.

    [1] https://www.bja.gov/Funding/JAGLocal17.pdf at p. 30.

    [1] Id.

    [1] See, e.g., Rafael Bernal, “Reports find that immigrants commit less crime than US-born citizens,” The Hill, March 19, 2017, available at http://thehill.com/latino/324607-reports-find-that-immigrants-commit-less-crime-than-us-born-citizens.

    [1] Kevin Rector, “Davis to DOJ: Making crime assistance contingent on local immigration policy 'perplexing,' 'concerning,’” The Baltimore Sun, August 15, 2017, available at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-ci-bpd-justice-letter-20170815-story.html.

    [1] Associated Press, “Cities baffled as Jeff Sessions targets them on immigration,” August 3, 2017, available at http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article165146222.html.

    [1] Chuck Wexler, “Police chiefs across the country support sanctuary cities because they keep crime down,” Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2017, available at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-wexler-sanctuary-cities-immigration-crime-20170306-story.html.


    [i] Sessions Confirmation Hearing Responses to Questions from Senator Durbin, Response 1.a, available at https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Sessions%20Responses%20to%20Durbin%20QFRs.pdf.

    [ii] https://www.bja.gov/jag/index.html, accessed on August 4, 2017 (emphasis added).

    [iii] Sessions Confirmation Hearing Responses to Questions from Senator Durbin at Response 1.b. 

    [vi] Id.

    [vii] See, e.g., Rafael Bernal, “Reports find that immigrants commit less crime than US-born citizens,” The Hill, March 19, 2017, available at http://thehill.com/latino/324607-reports-find-that-immigrants-commit-less-crime-than-us-born-citizens.

    [viii] Kevin Rector, “Davis to DOJ: Making crime assistance contingent on local immigration policy 'perplexing,' 'concerning,’” The Baltimore Sun, August 15, 2017, available at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-ci-bpd-justice-letter-20170815-story.html.

    [ix] Associated Press, “Cities baffled as Jeff Sessions targets them on immigration,” August 3, 2017, available at http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article165146222.html.

    [x] Chuck Wexler, “Police chiefs across the country support sanctuary cities because they keep crime down,” Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2017, available at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-wexler-sanctuary-cities-immigration-crime-20170306-story.html.