Arizona Republic: Where Sen. Martha McSally and her Democratic challenger Mark Kelly stand on DACA
The Supreme Court’s decision on the future of a program that allows nearly 700,000 young, undocumented immigrants to live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation will likely be handed down next spring, in the heat of the Arizona’s 2020 Senate race.
Both weighed in Tuesday on the battle over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
Kelly said Tuesday the Senate should immediately pass legislation that provides a path to citizenship for the “Dreamers.” He likened young peoples’ contributions to this country to those of his own children.
“Dreamers have grown up here, gone to school here, and are contributing to their communities — just like my kids,” Kelly said in a written statement. “That Dreamers could once again face uncertainty over their status is a total failure by Washington and bad for Arizona.”
McSally on Tuesday reiterated her position that former President Barack Obama’s executive action on DACA should be ended in favor of a legislative solution.
“Many DACA recipients have known no other country than the United States. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that President Obama went around Congress when he took executive action to establish DACA in the first place,” McSally said in a written statement. “It is Congress’ job to address the status and future of the DACA population and close the loopholes that are pulling the future generations of those in similar circumstances across the border every day. I’ve been working to secure our border and address the status of the DACA population and I believe there is a bipartisan way to accomplish both of those goals.”
Last year, as she was running for the Senate, McSally quietly removed from her official YouTube channel footage that showed her asking then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to assure her that DACA recipients in Arizona would be protected.
McSally also dropped her support for immigration-reform legislation that offered a pathway to citizenship for dreamers in favor of the Securing America’s Future Act. The measure would have granted “contingent nonimmigrant status” to those brought to the U.S. as children if they meet certain conditions rather than citizenship.
The Supreme Court justices are weighing whether President Donald Trump’s administration can end DACA, which was created by Obama in 2012 through executive action. An estimated 25,000 Arizonans brought to this country as children participate in the program, which carries strict requirements.
Trump campaigned to kill the program. He later expressed sympathy for the young people but began winding the program down in 2017.
The high court’s decision will carry far-reaching implications for young immigrants, their families, and their employers. It is unclear how a divided Congress — which has grappled with comprehensive immigration reform — would proceed should the program end.