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Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono renewed calls for a “path to citizenship” for millions of people living illegally in the U.S. who were brought into the country as children by the parents just a few days ahead of Election Day.
During an “Immigration Town Hall” with controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the two discussed the Obama-era Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which a divided U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year ruled against the Trump administration’s attempt to end the program via executive order, even though that’s how it was implemented.
But in authoring the opinion after joining the high court’s liberal wing, Chief Justice John Roberts left open the possibility that the administration could still overturn the program via another executive order.
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. ‘The wisdom’ of those decisions ‘is none of our concern,’” Roberts wrote. “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”
Hirono made note of that as she criticized a “very conservative court” and mocked their “originalist” views of what the “the founding fathers — the fathers, no women” — meant when adopting the Constitution.
Sen. Mazie Hirono: "There needs to be a path to citizenship for the 11 million-plus undocumented in our country." pic.twitter.com/MEm708TXWo
— The Hill (@thehill) October 30, 2020
She went on to bash the high court’s newest justice, Amy Coney Barrett, suggesting that she would ignore “precedent” on the issue of DACA.
“We have a very divided country and we cannot continue in this way,” Hirono said, blaming it solely on President Donald Trump. “We need a leader who’ll bring us together, who will take care of the pandemic, who will get the pandemic under control so we can address not just the healthcare crisis but also the economic crisis that so many of our communities face.”
She also mentioned “systemic racism” and “global climate change” as priorities, though there is no evidence to suggest the one exists or that the other can be mitigated by government policies.
Omar said she thinks a lot about “humane immigration policies” and noted that Hirono has been in Congress much longer than she before asking the Hawaii Democrat to “share” her immigration vision should their party win all of Congress and the White House.
If the Biden-Harris ticket wins, “we’re going to have a humane immigration policy that I hope will put family unity as a guiding principle because as an immigrant myself, I know how important” it is to be with family, Hirono said.
“And obviously there needs to be a path to citizenship the 11 million-plus undocumented people in our country,” she continued. “We need to protect DACA. We need to provide language access for our immigrant communities and families, and with healthcare as a right, not a privilege.”
Under provisions of Obamacare, illegal immigrants can’t purchase coverage, but “some states provide coverage for some undocumented children and pregnant women,” HealthInsurance.org noted in May.
As for DACA, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) noted in August 2019 that Democrats have shown no interest in either extending DACA legally or implementing other immigration reforms they claim to support because, he says, “They hate Trump.”
“I have been working on immigration for 10 years,” he added. “I’m willing to deal with a DACA population, give them a place to stay in our country, a pathway to citizenship. I’m willing to spend money in Central America to make life better. I’ve done everything I know to do, I’ve turned blue in the face.
“I can’t get one Democrat to agree with me that you should apply for asylum in Central America, or Mexico, not the United States,” he continued. “I can’t get one Democrat to agree to allow children to be held with their families humanely for, 40, 50, or 100 days so we can process their claims.”
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