On Thursday, January 23, 2020, the Anchorage Daily News reported Governor Michael J. Dunleavy sent personal correspondence on official State of Alaska letterhead to President Donald Trump. He requested that President Trump help Attorney General Kevin Clarkson cut through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ bureaucratic red tape to get a visa for his six-year-old stepson, a Colombian citizen, and to ensure that his wife, also a Colombian citizen, with green-card permanent residence in the United States, would be allowed to reenter the U.S. without being detained at the American border.
In the letter, AG Clarkson details a lengthy separation from his family, caused by current anti-immigration policy and systems that have notoriously caused issues for hundreds-of-thousands of other immigrants. In that same article, the Attorney General expressed fear that he would not be able to reunite his family, and called the situation “crazy.” The Governor advocated for AG Clarkson in the letter.
Currently, thousands of families are living in the same state of uncertainly and with the fear that they’ll never been reunited with the ones they love. Detainees are most often housed in for-profit detention centers, and forced to live in brutal, inhumane conditions of confinement. This practice goes against the fundamental values of our country. Liberty should be normal for everyone, and detention should be the last resort.
The ACLU of Alaska agrees with AG Clarkson: Elected officials and public servants should assist Alaskans. But our government servants should help everyone, not only when it affects the lives of those in positions of power.
Last year, while working the levers of government to reunite his own immigrant family, AG Clarkson signed Alaska onto a U.S. Supreme Court brief in which he supported the separation of families at the border, the for-profit detention of immigrants, and President Trump’s efforts to revoke protections for childhood arrivals to the United States who lack documentation. Months before, Governor Dunleavy sent members of the Alaska National Guard to the U.S.-Mexican Border to support President Trump’s efforts, efforts that have resulted in the detention of thousands seeking asylum and safety in the United States.
Given the information revealed in this letter, we encourage Alaskans to reach out to both leaders for support if they’ve also fallen victim to these inhumane policies.