Press Releases

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced the Accountability in Immigration Detention Act, legislation that aims to improve standards and living conditions in detention centers across the country.  This comes after detainees in Tacoma went on a nearly two-month hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) over access to nutritious food, isolation practices, treatment by guards, and other living conditions.

“After visiting the NWDC to speak with detainees on hunger strike, it was clear that more enforceable standards were necessary,” said Rep. Adam Smith.  “Many detainees are fathers and mothers who have committed no crime, yet are being held in unacceptable conditions for a prolonged period of time.  This legislation is focused on improving living conditions for detainees and increasing oversight and  transparency of the treatment of detainees.”

Currently, all standards at detention facilities are created and enforced by ICE.  Smith’s legislation would change federal law to ensure that detention center standards are federally regulated and created by a rulemaking committee that includes stakeholders like organizations that advocate for undocumented immigrants, local governments, medical experts, and more.

In a statement,  #Not1More said  "We applaud Rep. Adam Smith's response to the peaceful protest by immigrant detainees in Tacoma, WA calling for better treatment at the privately-run facility. His office reached out immediately to us and he visited three of the hunger strikers in late March. During his visit he not only found their demands to be valid, he also promised to introduce legislation to address the demands and the retaliation the hunger strikers faced. Today he delivered on his promise. As part of the campaign to stop deportations and as representatives of those on hunger strike, we thank him for his leadership and courage in creating solutions to these issues.”

The legislation also would require unannounced audits and encourage the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to consider alternatives to detention (ATDs) that provide a more humane alternative for individuals in ICE’s custody.  The bill has 7 original cosponsors: Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Jared Polis (D-CO), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Bill Foster (D-IL), Rick Larsen (D-WA).

Link to full bill text

Link to section by section of bill
Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement after Governor Jay Inslee appointed Ron Sims to serve as the Chair of the Board of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange:
 
“I applaud Governor Inslee’s appointment of Ron Sims to chair the Board of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.  For years, Ron has been fighting to improve health care in our community as King County Executive and as a founding member of the Puget Sound Health Alliance.   He is proven leader and tireless advocate for Washingtonians,  and he will be a tremendous asset to the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.  I look forward to working with him in the future. “
House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith announced today that he will push an amendment to the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act to remove the restrictions on transferring individuals from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) into the United States for trial or detention. Current law prohibits the United States from transferring detainees into the United States and from constructing or modifying facilities to house them for the purposes of detention or imprisonment, which prevents the President from closing the facility.

“The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is an international eyesore that undermines our national security objectives, damages our credibility with regard to human rights and international law, and wastes taxpayer dollars,” said Smith. “As the cost for the facility continues to increase, so too does the need to close it. But, we cannot effectively close this facility until the congressionally mandated restrictions are removed.”

Smith’s amendment will strike two provisions in the bill that would perpetuate congressionally imposed road blocks to closing GTMO. The two sections Smith will aim to remove are:

Section 1032—Prohibition on Use of Funds to Construct or Modify Facilities in the United States to House Detainees Transferred from United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Section 1033—Prohibition on the Use of Funds for the Transfer or Release of Individuals Detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


?Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement recognizing the life and legacy of Billy Frank, Jr:

“Our state lost a great leader today when Billy Frank Jr. passed away.  Billy never stopped fighting for the rights of Washington State’s native people and the health of our natural resources. His life and legacy of work will continue through the ages.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and all of those who were touched by Billy Frank, Jr."
Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement recognizing the month of May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month:
 
“During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, it is important that all Americans take time to reflect on the incredible contributions the Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community has made to our nation.  As workers helping to spur our economy, as members of our military defending our nation, and as civic leaders in society, the AAPI community is a critical part of our history.  I am honored to represent a district with effective civil rights and advocacy organizations like the Japanese America Citizens League and the Asian Counseling and Referral Services, and museums such as the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. They honor our past, inform our present, and provide hope for our future. They are examples of the tremendous impact Asian Pacific Americans have had on our society. I stand proudly with millions across our country in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.”