Congressman Smith Statement Opposing the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Smith released the following statement after voting against H.R. 3697, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act:

September 14, 2017

“The Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act is an affront to due process that unfairly targets our immigrant communities. This anti-immigrant bill is a blatant effort to support the Trump Administration’s mass deportation agenda.   

“Republican leadership brought this overly broad legislation to the House floor with no hearings and no opportunity for amendments. Under this legislation, the term ‘criminal gang’ would be expanded to grant the Department of Homeland Security vague discretion to target individuals who have no proven gang affiliation. This low burden of proof will open the door to rampant racial profiling, and result in sweeping detention and deportation activities based on nothing more than a supposed belief of criminal activity. Additionally, the bill raises serious constitutional concerns, by allowing for religious and humanitarian aid workers to be classified as gang members simply for their efforts to shelter undocumented immigrants.  

“We should be working to enact better, evidence-based solutions to prevent dangerous gangs such as MS-13 from engaging in criminal activity. We should not be targeting vulnerable populations that are trying to escape life-threatening situations. I will continue to fight against legislation that promotes discrimination against immigrants and their families.”