Press Releases

Congressman Smith released the following statement after House Republicans passed legislation attempting to ban the President from taking executive action on immigration reform:
 
“Today’s passage of  H.R. 5759 proves once again that House Republicans’ priorities for immigration reform are to obstruct progress and to rip families apart.  It is shameful that House Republicans are willing to take immediate action on this bill to restrict the President’s authority to provide relief for millions of undocumented immigrants, but for over a year have refused to allow a simple vote on a comprehensive immigration reform bill.  
 
“While Republican leadership continues to play politics, millions of people and families are suffering.  They cannot wait any longer.  That is why I opposed this legislation which tries to ban the President from using his authority to improve our immigration system and bring millions out of the shadows.  I will continue to fight for deportation relief, reforms to our immigration detention policies, and most importantly for comprehensive immigration reform.  We must come together to pass a meaningful comprehensive immigration reform bill that keeps families together.”


 

 

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement after the Grand Jury decision on the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO:
 
"The tragic death of Michael Brown in Ferguson showcases major issues that need to be addressed in law enforcement throughout our country.  To best protect our communities, it is critical that law enforcement work to develop and improve relationships with the communities they serve.  This requires a police force that is representative of the people they serve. In Ferguson and in many cities across the country, law enforcement fails to represent the diversity of the people they are entrusted to protect.  Additionally, the militarization of some of our law enforcement has led many to view police as an outsider and a threat, rather than a protector. I will do all I can in Congress to push for these changes."

 

Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in response to Secretary Hagel’s resignation:

Secretary Hagel stepped into office during a very difficult time. In addition to dealing with the mindless cuts forced on the Department of Defense through sequestration, Secretary Hagel helped manage the continued drawdown in Afghanistan, and among other issues, the challenges posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Russia and Ebola. These are significant challenges, and we owe Secretary Hagel a debt of gratitude for his efforts to deal with them.

Secretary Hagel has been a very good partner with Congress. He worked hard to stay in touch with us, and ensure that there was good communication and coordination. I wish him the very best in his future endeavors, and I thank him for his service.

 

Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in response to the extension of negotiations with Iran:

While I had hoped that we would have been able to reach a final deal, I support the extension of the interim deal that maintains a freeze on Iran’s nuclear program and makes progress towards a final deal. The President has made it abundantly clear through his words as well as his actions, that under his leadership the United States will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.  I firmly support that goal, which is why I support the extension of negotiations. During negotiations, Iran’s nuclear program will remain frozen and the painful sanctions will stay in place. The extension keeps the pressure on Iran.
 
It is clear that sanctions are having an effect, and that the economic impact has brought Iran to the negotiating table in a real way.  We should continue to pursue this path and not forget that the President has assembled a rare level of international cooperation. The European Union has put in place forceful sanctions.  China, India and South Korea are all cutting back on oil purchases from Iran or making it harder for Iran to profit.  The world has united to isolate the Iranian regime, which cannot be lost on those making decisions in Tehran.  We should allow the time and space to see if negotiations can work.

We must also remember that negotiations are difficult, and they require significant effort from all sides. The issues are complicated and politically sensitive for all parties involved. Moreover, any potential deal must be lasting, enforceable and achieve the desired outcomes. Forcing an outcome that falls short of our goals or walking away from negotiations at this point in time would not be wise.

 

 Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement after President Obama’s announcement that he would expand deferred action for millions of undocumented immigrants:

“I strongly support the President’s executive action on deportation relief.  This action is long overdue and will bring millions of undocumented immigrants out of the shadows. It will provide relief for many families and children living in constant fear of deportation by allowing for discretion to focus law enforcement resources on individuals who truly pose a risk to our communities.  I’ve met many undocumented immigrants who are law-abiding fathers, mothers, and children who have lived in the United States the majority of their lives and have contributed greatly to communities.  I do not believe these individuals should be deported or be forced to live in constant fear of being deported.  This executive action is a good step, but millions of undocumented immigrants will continue to live in fear.  To truly address our broken immigration system, Congress must pass a permanent comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill.

“Congressional inaction on this issue is incredibly frustrating because CIR has bipartisan support and could pass tomorrow if a vote were allowed in the House.  Over a year ago, the Senate passed CIR with large bipartisan support and the House introduced a CIR bill shortly afterwards.  This means that for well over a year, Congress has had the votes to pass landmark CIR with a pathway to citizenship.  Shamefully, Speaker Boehner and House Republican leadership have refused a vote on the bill and obstructed the process for purely political reasons. In the meantime families and children have continued to be ripped apart by our broken immigration system.    

“Both Republicans and Democrats agree that we must address the fact that 11 million undocumented immigrants are currently living in the shadows.  However, House Republicans have not only failed to offer a plan to address this problem and obstructed legislation that does, they’ve also insisted on moving backwards with continued attempts to repeal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which provides deportation relief for DREAMers.  The failures of Republican leadership have forced the President to use his legal authority to act.  His executive action to provide relief for millions is well within his legal authority. There is a long list of Presidents who have used deferred deportation as a form of discretion, including Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush  Obama is simply expanding the list of those who should receive deferred action and I commend him for doing so.  In Congress, I have strongly advocated for deportation relief, reforms to our immigration detention policies, and for CIR.  I will continue to do all I can to work with my colleagues to pass a meaningful CIR bill that keeps families together.”