Senator from Hawaii Stands up for Immigration Protections

August 24, 2015 11:42 am
by David Jakeman

Mazie Hirono is known by many throughout Hawaii. Hirono is the first Japanese immigrant to serve in the United States Senate, and her immigrant roots should make it no surprise that she has been involved with immigration for a long time. Recent statements she made with three other senators show that she is still interested in making immigration protections a priority, and Hawaii immigration attorneys are not surprised.

Immigrant Background

Hawaii is known as an immigrant hub for people all around the Pacific. The island has a rich history of numerous Japanese immigrants arriving and working on the Hawaiian Islands. That should make it easy to see why Hawaii’s voters would not have a problem voting for an immigrant to serve in the U.S. Senate. Since being elected, Senator Hirono has worked to make immigration a priority.
Immigrants to Hawaii face numerous challenges. While Hawaii is an idyllic place, its pleasures seem to be reserved for well-heeled tourists rather than those scrabbling to make ends meet. At least many of the beaches are open to all.

Hirono on Immigration

Recent court decisions have hampered President Obama’s executive actions attempting to deal with immigration issues facing the country. The court case of Texas v. United States placed Obama’s executive order on hold, and it is currently in the appeal’s process in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Some have argued that Obama’s actions went too far and were unconstitutional; others say he was well within his rights as president and that it was the only way to deal with the immigration crisis while Congress is stuck in an endless quagmire.

Hirono believes that Obama’s actions should be allowed, especially since they protected many immigrants who could face the deportation of parents of legal permanent residents or U.S. citizens. She and four other senators filed an amicus brief in support of the Obama administration’s actions. The four senators argued that Obama had acted within his legal authority and was working to fix the broken immigration system.1 Hawaii immigration attorneys were generally not surprised by her statement, given her support of immigration reform as her time as senator.

As the court case snakes its way through the labyrinth of the U.S. judicial system, it remains to be seen whose side will win. It would not be surprising to see the case make its way to the Supreme Court. Perhaps Congress will get its act together before the court decides the executive order’s fate. But really, something needs to be done for the millions of immigrants living in precarious situations.

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