The US Supreme Court today voted 5-4 in favor of rejecting the Trump administration‘s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA.
The program benefits an estimated 700,000 recipients known as “dreamers” and was launched eight years ago to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.
US Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaiʻi said while she is grateful these individuals will not be subjected to the immediate threat of deportation, she urged a more permanent legislative fix.
President Trump has called the decision “a highly political one,” and has indicated plans to start the process again.
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Last year, the House passed additional legislation, the Dream and Promise Act, which would provide dreamers the opportunity to apply for permanent legal status and eventually become eligible for US citizenship; however the Senate has not held a vote on the bill.
Sen. Hirono has since started a petition demanding a vote to “ensure a permanent legislative path to citizenship.”
An estimated 4,000 Dreamers live in Hawai‘i. Over 800 Hawaiʻi residents have been granted DACA status over the past 5 years.
“By shielding Dreamers from deportation and granting them permission to work, DACA gives Dreamers the opportunity to come out of the shadows and contribute more fully to the only country many of them have ever known,” said Corey Park, The Legal Clinic Board President.
“With so much uncertainty in the world today, it can be hard to stay positive when many of our Hawai‘i ‘ohana are struggling. I feel blessed for the professional opportunities and goals I have been able to achieve, thanks to DACA,” said Liz Cortez, a legal assistant and DACA recipient from Maui.
“Now more than ever Congress needs to create a permanent solution that gives us a path to citizenship and allows us to remain in this country that we love,” said Cortez.