Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement after House Republicans unveiled their framework for addressing the humanitarian situation at the border:
 
“The House Republican’s plan to address this humanitarian situation shows a misunderstanding of the circumstances, and fails to tackle the root of the problem.
 
“First, the arrival of unaccompanied minors is not a failure in border enforcement.  Not only are the thousands of children in the government’s custody evidence of that, but we have also met nearly every border security target that President Bush’s 2007 immigration bill set.  The humanitarian situation at the border is the result of children fleeing horrific levels of violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which has the highest murder rate in the world.  To truly address this crisis, we must look at the root causes and find ways to help improve conditions in these countries.
 
“Second, it is the wrong approach to address this humanitarian situation by weakening the 2008 law. This legislation, that passed with bipartisan support and was signed by President Bush, is in place to protect minors who are fleeing human trafficking, violence, and abuse.  Now we have over 57,000 unaccompanied children within our borders, yet the Republican response is to weaken this law.  We are a world leader in refugee resettlement and we have the institutions and the legal framework in place to give these children due process. This humanitarian situation shows why our country needs the 2008 law, not why we should weaken it.  
 
“As Congress considers the President’s request for funding, we should be focused on doing what we can to protect these children and to improve conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.  The fact that unaccompanied minors are leaving their families and everything they know to make an extremely dangerous journey away from their homes shows how unlivable conditions are at home.  I oppose simply deporting  them without considering the protections our laws provide.   These children deserve due process, and I support increased funding for immigration judges and legal representation to help the unaccompanied children make their case in court.”
 

Congressman Smith released the following statement regarding unaccompanied minors and the humanitarian crisis at the border:
 
"In 2008, with bipartisan support, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed a bill to protect minors who arrived in our country after fleeing human trafficking or other kinds of abuse or violence.  More than anything else the recent increase in minors coming across our border makes it clear why this law is so important.  Our country should do what we can to protect minors fleeing violence in other parts of the world, and the tragic situations in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have forced many children to flee those nations in search of safety.  It is important to note that these children are not just coming to the United States.  Costa Rica and Belize, among other countries, have seen massive increases in children migrating into their countries as well.

"It is the exact wrong approach to say that we should respond to this humanitarian crisis by weakening that 2008 law.  We should pass the President's supplemental funding request to help deal with the arrival of children coming into our country to get away from violent and dangerous situations, not gut the law that was set up to protect these children in the first place.  

"The supplemental money is badly needed to help process the children who have come across our border.  Certainly not all will qualify for asylum or refugee status under the 2008 law or other immigration laws on the book, but they should all have fair representation to make their cases in court in an expeditious manner.

"Finally, we should prioritize their placement with family members or sponsors. For families with children, we should seek alternatives to detention while they are awaiting their status determination.  Many have family or friends they can stay with and others can benefit from numerous organizations that have experience in assisting immigrant families.  Not only is this more humane than locking them up in detention centers, but it is also far less costly to our government.

"The increase in children coming into our country as they flee violence in their own is undeniably a challenge for the United States.  But as a nation of immigrants and refugees, and one that has always placed a high a value on justice and fairness for all, we must attempt to meet that challenge in the most humane and caring way possible."
We must do whatever we can to achieve a cease fire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Hamas led government in Gaza.  Hamas must reconsider and accept the cease fire offered by Egypt which Israel agreed to accept.  Suffering on both sides has been horrific and we desperately need a solution to stop the fighting.  

As a strong supporter of Israel I want to again express my support for the people of that country.  For too long they have lived under the threat of missiles falling out of the sky at any moment.  The people of Israel long for peace and I continue to pray that someday it will come.  I am also in contact with many of my Jewish constituents and my heart goes out to them as many have friends and relatives in Israel and all of them desperately want peace in the Middle East.  

I also have enormous sympathy for the people of Gaza.  They have suffered throughout this crisis as well, living in unimaginably horrible conditions.  Ultimately peace will only be achieved when the Hamas government is rejected and a viable two state solution is agreed to.  I know that the overwhelming majority of the people in Israel and Palestine just want peace.  

It is my constant prayer that this will be achieved.  In the mean time, again, we need a cease fire to stop the current suffering and I will continue to work with the Obama administration to find any way our country can help achieve that goal. 
Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement after the Senate Republicans blocked the Protect Women From Corporate Interference Act:

“I am disappointed that Senate Republicans blocked a vote on the Protect Women From Corporate Interference Act today, which would reverse the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.  The Hobby Lobby ruling set a very dangerous precedent that allows employers to deny health benefits, in this case contraception, to employees based on a company’s beliefs.  I believe that health care decisions should be left to the individual, their doctors, and their families; not their employers.

“This legislation, which was introduced by my friend Senator Patty Murray, would make it illegal for a company to deny any worker health benefits that are covered by federal law and would restore the guarantee that women have access to contraceptive coverage through their employer.  In light of the Supreme Court ruling, it is critical that both the House and Senate pass this legislation.  I am a cosponsor of a companion bill in the House, and will work hard with my colleagues to build support for this bill.”

There is a  common misperception that the arrival of unaccompanied minors from Central America to the United States is an immigration problem and a failure of enforcement at our borders. It is not.  It is a humanitarian crisis. Our government has the responsibility to reflect our country’s values by treating these children in a humane way as they seek refuge from horrific levels of violence in their home countries.  For this reason, I support the supplemental appropriation request to manage this situation.

Our borders are secure as evidenced by the thousands of children that are in the government’s custody. They are being stopped by Customs and Border Patrol and that is the definition of border security. No border security measure can stop people from trying to cross the border to escape violence.  This crisis can only be stemmed by addressing the root causes of their migration and helping to improve conditions in their home countries.

These children deserve due process and the full protection that our current laws afford. I oppose simply sending these kids back without consideration of these protections, including asylum. To speed up the review of each child’s case, I support an increase in immigration judges, as well as legal representation that will help children to navigate the legal process. I will fight for these priorities to be implemented as we continue to work on humane solutions to this crisis.