Although the facts are still coming in, the recent revelations surrounding Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his alleged contacts with Russian officials reinforce the legitimate need for a special prosecutor. There needs to be clarity on what and who the Trump Administration officials spoke to within the Russian government and the topic of those conversations. The President also needs to be transparent with the American people about his personal and business dealings with Russia which is why he should release his tax returns as every other President has done. I agree with Minority Leader Pelosi’s call for the Attorney General’s resignation. It is clear that the Attorney General is unfit to serve as the head of the Justice Department, nor is he in a position to oversee the widely substantiated evidence of Russia’s interference in our democratic process.
Washington Members Call for Information from Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation on Disturbing Threats Targeting Jewish Community Centers
Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09), joined by Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Dave Reichert (WA-08), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Denny Heck (WA-10), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), released the following statement in response to Monday evening’s bomb threat that lead to the evacuation of the Mercer Island Jewish Community Center in Mercer Island, Washington:
March 1, 2017
The Members of Congress joined in sending a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ), as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to share a deep concern with increasing number of alarming bomb threats targeting Jewish Community Centers in over thirty states, sowing fear and anxiety in our communities. The letter requests that in the wake of these threats, as well as the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, the DOJ and FBI must tirelessly investigate these matters, and prosecute all offenders to the fullest extent possible.
“A clear message must be sent that hatred and bigotry have no place in America, and they will not be tolerated,” the members of Congress wrote. “We stand with the Jewish Community both here in Washington state and across the country following a disturbing number of threats against Jewish community centers in recent months. Our community will continue to remain one that values diversity, and promotes respect for people of all races and religions.”
The Members look forward to continued, regular dialogue with both the DOJ and FBI to ensure that they can continue to keep their constituents informed.
Read the full letter HERE, text below.
Dear Attorney General Sessions and Director Comey,
We write to you regarding the increasing number of alarming bomb threats targeting Jewish Community Centers in over 30 states, sowing fear and anxiety in our communities. These malicious, deliberate, and clearly coordinated attacks have singled out Jewish schools and gathering places, endangering the lives of children, and we seek to partner with you in helping to combat this rash of hateful, criminal acts. While we understand that your investigation is ongoing, we are formally requesting to be briefed on the efforts of the Department of Justice (DOJ), as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to resolve and address this crisis. We encourage both agencies to employ all legal avenues and resources at your disposal to stop these crimes.
The safety and well-being of Americans is of the upmost importance, and with more than 100 threats having been received by the writing of this letter, we are extremely concerned that this represents an increase in anti-Semitic activity across the country. Anti-Semitic attacks occupy the largest percentage of religiously rooted hate crime, and they have been increasing in number over the last several years. The Pacific Northwest in particular has been witness to horrific attacks against the Jewish Community, including the July 2006 shooting at the Seattle Jewish Federation, resulting in the tragic death of one individual.
In the wake of these threats, as well as the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, we ask that the DOJ and FBI tirelessly investigate these matters, and prosecute all offenders to the fullest extent possible. A clear message must be sent that hatred and bigotry have no place in America, and they will not be tolerated. We greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication put forward by the agents, investigators, and prosecutors in your organizations. We look forward to continued, regular dialogue with you to ensure that we can continue to keep our constituents informed.
February 28, 2017
"The opening lines of the President's speech belatedly expressed concern about the rising anti-semitism and other acts of bigotry that have occurred in our country in recent weeks. I am glad he made such a strong statement, but the rest of his speech returned to the old empty promises that offer almost no specifics for how he might achieve the goals laid out in his lofty rhetoric.
"I am unconvinced that now five weeks into his term, President Trump has a sufficient understanding of the challenges that working families face. We must create broad-based opportunities for all, not just the wealthiest.
"The President’s Budget blueprint released this week shows a disturbing disconnect from facts and fiscal responsibility. The proposed budget would destroy critical services and investments to American families, local communities, and endanger our national security. These catastrophic cuts will hurt the progress our country has made.
"As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I know that the President’s budget proposal and his policies are irresponsible and threaten our national security. The reported cuts to diplomacy and development – key pillars that are critical to supporting our national security – will make Americans less safe, harm our standing around the world, and feed the anti-American narrative of terrorist groups like Daesh. President Trump's reckless, ignorant understanding of world affairs is placing our country in jeopardy.
"I am proud to represent a district in a state with a long history of opening its doors and providing equal opportunity to those seeking a safe haven and a chance at a better life. We are a nation of immigrants and refugees, and that our diversity continues to make us stronger. Immigration is not an obstacle, but rather an opportunity that enriches our society, fuels our economic competitiveness, and helps to create additional American jobs by attracting needed workers, high-skilled entrepreneurs, and investors. Our immigration laws must be reformed in a constructive and humane manner, which keeps families together and is consistent with American values.
"I have heard from thousands of constituents in the district I represent about their deep concerns with the direction President Trump has taken our country in his first month in office. I myself remain deeply concerned with the attacks on our American values that we are seeing come from our highest political office. Moving forward, I will continue to work with my colleagues to fight for policies that protect our working families, provide for good-paying jobs, preserves our environment for future generations, and brings our country together."
Washington, D.C. – The Corporation for National and Community Service Social Innovation Fund is granting $1.2 million total over four years to Friends of the Children Seattle. The Social Innovation Fund identifies and supports innovative community-based solutions that have compelling evidence of improving the lives of people in low-income communities throughout the United States.
February 23, 2017
“I want to congratulate Friends of the Children (FOTC) for their tireless work towards breaking the cycle of generational poverty through exemplary community work to help our region’s most vulnerable populations,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “The Corporation for National and Community Service has recognized the critical services FOTC offers, and has chosen to support FOTC as they continue to invest in our children’s future through programs like their One Child at a Time Expansion Project. Many of the students served by FOTC receive reduced price lunch, have parents who are incarcerated, were born to a teen parent, or are living within the foster care system. Nonprofits like FOTC help to ensure a brighter future for our youth.”
The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) employs advanced metrics to measure the effectiveness of the programs it provides funds to, in order to ensure that the nonprofits are constantly growing and changing to adapt to changing community issues. FOTC Seattle was selected in recognition that they have built positive relationships with key partners in the local schools and with local child welfare offices. In its 16 years, FOTC, has established a proven record of responding to the unique issues of the 9th district’s at-risk youth.
The SIF award will support FOTC Seattle in their goal to double the number of children served over the next four years, an increase of 128 youth. FOTC Seattle will enroll 32 youth each of the four years of the grant award: Half of those youth each year will be selected from the foster care system, and half will be kindergarteners with the highest number of risk factors coming from high poverty schools.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA), joined by Reps. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Adam Smith (WA-09), Denny Heck (WA-10), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Rick Larsen (WA-02), and Suzan DelBene (WA-01), sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to express concern that enforcement priorities are now so broad that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, such as Daniel Ramirez Medina, may be caught up in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids.
February 17, 2017
Under the Executive Order titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” Mr. Ramirez should not have been a priority for detention by ICE. The letter seeks clarification of the changes to ICE’s enforcement priorities and the practices of ICE agents at the doors and in the homes of immigrants.
“We expect due process and facts to guide government agency’s actions,” the members of Congress wrote. “But what we have seen from this administration is repeated falsehoods about immigrants and refugees, and suspicion and allegations rule the day. This is unacceptable, and we demand better.”
That America may break its promise to DACA recipients, who came out of the shadows to sign up for the program with the understanding that they would not be targeted for detention and deportation if they followed the law, is of particular concern to the members of Congress. Further, the Senators and Representatives note that immigration raids do not succeed in creating safe communities.
“In nearly all circumstances, engaging in immigration raids to detain people is unnecessary and damaging to our communities,” wrote the members of Congress.
Specifically, the letter requests:
- A detailed description of any change in ICE policy since January 19, 2017, that allows for ICE agents to detain a DACA recipient, and under what conditions.
- A detailed description of how ICE conducts oversight of its enforcement actions, including as it pertains to DACA recipients who were detained “collaterally” to other enforcement targets.
- A copy of any written policies or standard practices ICE agents use to guide their actions when they are presented with legal documents by individuals in the home of a person who is the target of an ICE raid.
- A description of how the Executive Order pertaining to interior enforcement will be implemented by local ICE agents as it relates to DACA recipients, and what guidance local ICE agents were provided on this matter.
- A copy of any policies used by ICE when issuing press statements pertaining to allegations against a detainee that are not proven in a Federal criminal court or State criminal court.
A copy of the letter can be found below.
February 17, 2017
The Honorable John F. Kelly
Secretary of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20528
Dear Secretary Kelly,
We write to express concern that the Executive Order titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” seems to expand enforcement priorities so broadly that even Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients could be susceptible. It appears that local U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested a recipient of the DACA program in error. We want to inquire whether ICE has changed its enforcement practices pertaining to DACA recipients. We are also deeply concerned the Department may have altered the procedures and practices of ICE agents at the doors and in the homes of immigrants. This is clearly demonstrated by the detainment of Mr. Daniel Ramirez Medina near Seattle, a recipient of DACA whose attorney states there is no apparent reason he should have been detained. We are particularly concerned about Mr. Ramirez’s case and would like a full briefing at the earliest possible date on all actions and evidence that led ICE to detain Mr. Ramirez after learning he is a DACA recipient.
Young people applied for the DACA program with the promise that applying would not result in immigration enforcement actions as long as they followed the law. DACA recipients have been carefully vetted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and granted permission to remain in the United States and authorization to work, a clear indication DACA recipients are not an enforcement priority. Moreover, in nearly all circumstances engaging in immigration raids to detain people is unnecessary and damaging to our communities. These raids wreak havoc in immigrant communities across the country. Mr. Ramirez’s case, and the lack of clear communication regarding his arrest, will only cause more anxiety and confusion among immigrant communities in Washington state and across the United States.
We expect due process and facts to guide government agency’s actions. But what we have seen from this administration is repeated falsehoods about immigrants and refugees, and suspicion and allegations rule the day. This is unacceptable, and we demand better. We request that you provide to our staff:
• A detailed description of any change in ICE policy since January 19, 2017, that allows for ICE agents to detain a DACA recipient, and under what conditions.
• A detailed description of how ICE conducts oversight of its enforcement actions, including as it pertains to DACA recipients who were detained “collaterally” to other enforcement targets.
• A copy of any written policies or standard practices ICE agents use to guide their actions when they are presented with legal documents by individuals in the home of a person who is the target of an ICE raid.
• A description of how the Executive Order pertaining to interior enforcement will be implemented by local ICE agents as it relates to DACA recipients, and what guidance local ICE agents were provided on this matter.
• A copy of any policies used by ICE when issuing press statements pertaining to allegations against a detainee that are not proven in a Federal criminal court or State criminal court.
We are deeply troubled by the lack of communication and transparency in ICE’s handling of this matter and expect a prompt reply to this letter.