As U.S. Supreme Court hears battle over DACA, Murkowski renews call for fix

Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks on the Senate floor during the debate on the GOP tax bill on Dec. 19, 2017.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the future of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as legal challenges to President Donald Trump’s elimination of the program finally got their day in the country’s highest court.

The fate of the program could put the legal status for some 700,000 DACA recipients, known as Dreamers, in question as early next year, not only affecting their ability to work but to remain in the country.

Efforts to find a durable legal solution for Dreamers gained interest in light of the president’s efforts to scuttle the program, but ultimately faltered when the president tied such a solution to increased spending for the border wall as well as reductions to legal immigration.

Today, Alaska’s U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski renewed the call for a legislative solution for Dreamers.

“As the Alaska Supreme Court considers the arguments over DACA today, I want the Dreamers in Alaska and across our country to know I stand with them,” she wrote on Twitter. “Today, we all should be renewing the call for a legislative solution for the Dreamers. This Congress I cosponsored the Dream Act, just as I have many times before, because I strongly believe that we simply should not punish children for the actions of their parents.”

Murkowski is one of six sponsors/co-sponsors for the Dream Act, and one of three Republicans to sign onto the measure.

Alaska has a relatively small number of Dreamers, but there’s not a precise number because of skittishness surrounding the program out of fears that the federal government could use the list for targeted deportations. A 2019 statistic by the Center of American progress puts 80 DACA recipients in Alaska.

In Alaska, HJ Kim, a DACA recipient, and Dan Rodgers, with the Alaska Institute for Justice, spoke with the media on Tuesday. Kim came to the U.S. when she was 13 and has lived here for 20 years and currently works in Alaska as a translator and paralegal assistant.

“Alaska is my home,” Kim said in a prepared statement.

Rodgers said today’s court case is a reminder that a long-standing solution is needed.

“Today, the Supreme Court’s oral arguments regarding the Trump administration’s rescission of the program only emphasize the need for the court to uphold the program and Congress to find a solution,” he said. “I urge Senators Murkowski and Sullivan to work in a bipartisan manner to get this done.”

Murkwoski agreed, saying that it’ll take both sides of the aisle to pass a fix.

“I for one, stand ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to provide a legal, certain path forward for the Dreamers,” Murkowski said.

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