Taking Stock of Democratic Members of Congress Representing Washington State

Robin Engle Uncategorized

In the 2018 mid-term elections, all US Representatives will be up for election, including Washington State’s ten Members of Congress.  This post summarizes the positions taken by the Democratic Representatives serving Washington State.

With respect to the current crisis of family separation at the southern border, all of the Democratic representatives listed below signed Rep. Jayapal’s letter to limit DHS’ ability to use appropriated fund to separate families.

Rick Larsen

Rep. Larsen is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, which is a group of moderate Democrats that released principles for comprehensive immigration reform through their Immigration Task Force. On his website, Rep. Larsen refers to the immigration system as broken, in need of reform, and endorses the New Democrat Coalition’s plan. The principles call for the reform of employment-based and family-based immigration to reduce bureaucratic backlogs, ensure resources for border enforcement, implement a mandatory employment verification system to prevent illegal employment while not being burdensome to business owners, and to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

In response to House Resolution 990, which expressed support for Immigration and Customs Immigration (ICE), Rep. Larsen said, “I do not support abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). There are important reforms the Department should undertake, such as ending the policy of family separation and detention, but these changes must begin by addressing the broader concerns surrounding the administration’s immigration enforcement policies.”  Rep. Larsen’s immigration views are moderate, he does support Dreamers and establishing pathways to citizenship for immigrants but does not support “any proposal that hands out citizenship.”

During the Trump administration, Rep. Larsen voted in opposition to key immigration bills opposed by OneAmerica, including HR 2213 (Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017), HR 3004 (Kate’s Law), HR 3003 (No Sanctuary for Criminals Act), HR 3697 (Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act), HR 6136 (Border Security, and Immigration Reform Act of 2018), and HR 4760 (Securing America’s Future Act of 2018).

Suzan DelBene

On her campaign website, Rep. Suzan DelBene says that the immigration system is broken and dysfunctional to all involved, and calls for comprehensive immigration reform. According to her Congressional website, “Comprehensive immigration reform should eliminate backlogs, reunite families and meet the demands of our nation’s economy.” Rep. DelBene supports Dreamers and finding a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are already here and contribute to our communities. In 2013, she was one of the original cosponsors on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, which encompassed a total reform of our immigration system, that OneAmerica ultimately supported. Recently, alongside OneAmerica she spoke out against the Trump administration’s decision to no longer accept claims of domestic and gang violence as grounds for asylum and Congress’ lack of action in providing “meaningful” immigration reform.

During the Trump administration, Rep. DelBene voted in opposition to key immigration bills opposed by OneAmerica, including HR 2213 (Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017), HR 3004 (Kate’s Law), HR 3003 (No Sanctuary for Criminals Act), HR 3697 (Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act), HR 6136 (Border Security, and Immigration Reform Act of 2018), and HR 4760 (Securing America’s Future Act of 2018).

Adam Smith

According to his campaign website, Rep. Adam Smith views immigration as one of our nation’s biggest strengths, but the system needs to be reformed. He has been actively supportive of immigrant communities; since President Trump’s inauguration he has spoken out against the administration anti-immigrant agenda. In 2017, Rep. Smith sponsored the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act of 2017, which prohibits for-profit private detention centers and mandatory detention, and the Freedom of Religion Act of 2017, which would prohibit the United States from denying entry based on religion. Rep. Smith also sponsored bills that prohibited cutting federal funding from sanctuary cities and guaranteed legal counsel for immigrants in civil immigration proceedings.

He was an original cosponsor of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, and introduced the Accountability in Immigration Detention Act, responding to concerns over lack of transparency and accountability at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA. Rep. Smith is a vocal supporter of Dreamers and supported the DREAM Act and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). Since the Trump administration, Rep. Smith voted in opposition to key immigration bills opposed by OneAmerica, including HR 2213 (Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017), HR 3004 (Kate’s Law), HR 3003 (No Sanctuary for Criminals Act), HR 3697 (Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act), HR 6136 (Border Security, and Immigration Reform Act of 2018), and HR 4760 (Securing America’s Future Act of 2018).

Dennis Heck

Rep. Denny Heck believes our immigration system needs to be fixed in a comprehensive way, not piece by piece. According to his website, he opposes the Muslim Ban and separation of families under the President’s “zero-tolerance” policy. On June 8, he joined other Washington state legislators to speak out against family separation at SeaTac Federal Detention Center, and he co-signed the Keep Families Together Act.  Rep. Heck also co-signed a letter to the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee to urge the committee to prevent government resources from being spent to separate families at the southern border.

Since the Trump administration, Rep. Heck voted in opposition to key immigration bills opposed by OneAmerica, including HR 2213 (Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017), HR 3004 (Kate’s Law), HR 3003 (No Sanctuary for Criminals Act), HR 3697 (Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act), HR 6136 (Border Security, and Immigration Reform Act of 2018), and HR 4760 (Securing America’s Future Act of 2018).

Derek Kilmer

In a floor speech arguing for bipartisan immigration reform, he said, “Improving our legal immigration system will ensure American workers receive the benefits of competing on an equal ground. It will reduce exploitation and give undocumented workers and their families a path toward achieving opportunity.” He also signed on to a letter urging the Trump administration to cease family separation along with Washington’s five other Democratic representatives. He also co-sponsored the USA Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients following the President’s decision to end DACA.

During the Trump administration, Rep. Kilmer voted against a number of bills opposed by OneAmerica, including HR 2213 (Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017), HR 3004 (Kate’s Law), HR 3003 (No Sanctuary for Criminals Act), HR 3697 (Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act), HR 6136 (Border Security, and Immigration Reform Act of 2018), and HR 4760 (Securing America’s Future Act of 2018).

Pramila Jayapal

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the founder of OneAmerica, publicly denounced the construction of a border wall and the indiscriminate deportation of undocumented immigrants in the United States. She has stated on her campaign website that she is “working to pass just and humane immigration reform that provides legalization and a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, reunites families, protects immigrant workers on the job, and fully embraces the contributions that immigrants make to our society.” She has been a vocal opponent to the Trump administrations current immigration policies, including sponsoring legislation to terminate ICE, visiting federal detention centers to meet with detainees, and even attending a D.C. protest of Trump’s zero tolerance policy where she was arrested with other demonstrators who refused to leave.  Jayapal is an original co-sponsor of the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act and other legislative proposals to grant legal counsel to immigrants in civil legal proceedings, and protect Muslims from bias in our immigration system.

During the Trump administration, Rep. Jayapal has been one of the most vocal supporters of immigrant rights in Congress and voted against measures opposed by OneAmerica, including voting against HR 2213 (Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017), HR 3004 (Kate’s Law), HR 3003 (No Sanctuary for Criminals Act), HR 3697 (Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act), HR 6136 (Border Security, and Immigration Reform Act of 2018), and HR 4760 (Securing America’s Future Act of 2018).

Currently, OneAmerica Votes has endorsed Rep. Jayapal, Rep. Smith and Rep. DelBene for re-election to Congress, and will consider further endorsements as we near the November election.