Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) today issued the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement regarding a Turkish military operation in Northern Syria that would put American-supported Kurdish forces near the border in harm’s way.

“The Trump Administration’s recently announced decision to withdraw U.S. military personnel from Northern Syria will harm American-backed Kurdish troops and is a catastrophic mistake. 

“The Kurds have been our strongest ally and closest partner in the fight against ISIS. The Defense Department and State Department negotiated a security mechanism in Northeast Syria that addresses Turkish security concerns and enables our partners in Syria to remain focused on ISIS. Abandoning this agreement with our partners in Northeast Syria sends the wrong signal and will only further destabilize security in Syria, while enhancing ISIS’s ability to rebuild in strength and numbers.

“Despite the Administration’s actions to the contrary, the U.S. relies on allies and partners to ensure its security at home and abroad. Abandoning the Kurds sends the message that the U.S. is an unreliable partner in the fight against terror, with our own President opening the door for our adversaries to take the lead on the global stage against us.”

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Statement from Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09):

“The Expansion and Troubling Use of ICE Detention”
House Committee on the Judiciary
Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship
September 26, 2019

Washington D.C. – Today, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship held a hearing on the expansion of our broken immigration detention system and the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, which is led by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA). After the hearing, members of Congress and advocates spoke at a press conference at the United States Capitol urging support for the bill. Congressman Smith submitted the following statement for the record in the hearing:

Amidst the vibrant communities and people I am proud to represent in the Ninth District of Washington, the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) stands in direct opposition to the shared values of our community and country. Located in the district and run by the private corporation GEO Group, this immigration detention facility exemplifies the lack of humanity that plagues our immigration system and detention centers.

For years, I have worked with constituents and advocates to bring about needed positive change at the NWDC. Together we have fought to improve health care services, living conditions inside the facility, and access to legal counsel. We are working tirelessly with the families and loved ones of those detained to get information about their immigration proceedings and hold Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) accountable for their actions. The dedication from countless people and organizations that support immigrants detained at the NWDC, such as the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, is nothing short of inspiring. However, to end the injustices at the NWDC and throughout our immigration system, we need Congress to pass the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act to substantially reform this broken system.   

The changes we need will require us to rethink the entire purpose and structure of the immigration detention system. The system currently incentivizes and facilitates arbitrarily detaining people, while providing little to no protection, due process, or basic humanity to the thousands of individuals it impacts. At an incredible cost to the federal government, the use of detention centers continues to skyrocket; over 51,000 immigrants are imprisoned by ICE right now. There is no justifiable reason to imprison the vast majority of people that are currently held in detention.

The people that fill our detention centers came to the U.S. to live a better life, including many who are here seeking asylum. Nearly all detained immigrants pose no threat or danger to society, and in many cases, these immigrants were already meaningfully contributing and living in our communities. Yet our immigration system operates on the misguided presumption that immigrants pose an inherent threat to communities. Rethinking our system means repealing mandatory detention, incorporating strong protections for vulnerable populations and, if an individual needs to be placed in detention, placing the burden of proof on the government to clearly show that person poses a threat to the community.

The United States also allows private corporations to profit off the imprisonment of human beings. There is absolutely no reason that for-profit corporations, such as the GEO Group, which owns and operates the NWDC, should be running immigration detention centers. These companies are concerned with their bottom line; not the well-being of the people held in their facilities. We need to phase out private detention facilities and dramatically improve accountability and oversight to ensure compliance with enhanced detention standards.

The system doesn’t have to be the way that it is today. Alternatives to detention, such as community-based programs, have proven to be effective at ensuring individuals appear at immigration proceedings while providing critical legal services and other support. Not only are these programs far more humane than detention, they are significantly less costly to the government. Individuals can live with their families and loved ones while immigration proceedings move forward, allowing government resources to instead be put towards other priorities.

I am proud to have worked with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal to once again introduce the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act and to bring humanity, due process, and accountability to the failed immigration detention system. The Congresswoman’s leadership and commitment to this issue is unparalleled. We cannot talk about immigration reform without a conversation about the current detention system, and I greatly appreciate Chair Lofgren for holding a hearing to push that conversation forward. 

There is no better place to see the value that immigrants and diversity bring to our country than in and around the Ninth District of the state of Washington. We are proud to be the home to many refugees, DACA recipients, asylum seekers, and other immigrants who are contributing to the fabric of our communities and making our district a better place. I am hopeful that we can make progress towards a fair and just immigration system that treats people with the dignity they deserve.

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Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) issued the following statement:

“The evidence is clear that President Trump withheld congressionally approved military assistance to pressure Ukrainian President Zelensky to dig up dirt on a political opponent. The President has yet to deny these allegations. If true, it is a brazen abuse of presidential power and an impeachable offense.

“After years of debate and uncertainty, this may represent a new chapter of clarity. It is imperative that Congress receive direct testimony from the whistleblower. I will not accept an edited transcript – refusal to provide an unredacted transcript and un-doctored recording would blatantly violate federal law and the Whistleblower Act. Time and again, the Trump Administration has demonstrated that it is not a reliable arbiter of the truth.

“It is now the job of Congress to act as swiftly as possible to uncover the full extent of the President’s corruption and degradation of democracy. The American people deserve to know how the President leveraged congressionally authorized taxpayer dollars for his own personal interest over national security as we move toward impeachment proceedings.

“It is urgent that Congress uncover any and all evidence that President Trump used military aid as leverage in this coercion. I am fully committed to upholding the rule of law through impeachment investigations.”

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Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) issued the following statement on the passing of Dr. Emily Clyburn:

“Sara and I are heartbroken to hear of the passing of Dr. Emily Clyburn. We are all offering our condolences and prayers for our friend James Clyburn, their daughters Mignon, Jennifer, and Angela, their extended family, and all those whose lives Emily touched.

“Emily was an unstoppable force of good in this world – her fight for civil rights and equality, her service to the community as a librarian, and her efforts raising tens of thousands of dollars to help send students to college are just a few examples of a long list of how she profoundly impacted the lives of those around her. Her life, her work, and her steadfast commitment to helping others sets an example for us all to strive to emulate.

“My colleagues and I join the Clyburn family in mourning the loss of Emily, and we hope they find comfort in each other sharing stories, honoring her memory, and celebrating her life and legacy.”

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Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) announced that he has named Amanda Wyma-Bradley as Legislative Assistant and Justin Weiss as Communications Director.

Amanda Wyma-Bradley joins Congressman Smith’s office as a Legislative Assistant after completing the Master of Public Policy Program at Georgetown University. Wyma-Bradley holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Communications, with a minor in Women’s Studies from Seattle Pacific University, and formerly worked on program implementation for a pilot project funded through the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime. She will take over agriculture, business, financial services, housing, transportation, tax, among other issues in Congressman Smith’s office.

Justin Weiss joins Congressman Smith’s office as Communications Director following the departure of Rebecca Bryant who now serves as Community Relations Manager at Fred Hutchinson. Weiss brings a communications background in advocacy and policy messaging most recently having worked at Rational 360, a public relations firm, where he worked on accounts in health care, fiscal policy, and international relations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications and French from Denison University.

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