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Sen. Ernst Worried About DACA Recipients After President's Tweets

Kate Payne

Iowa U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst says she’s worried about the fate of DACA recipients in Iowa. The Republican lawmaker is voicing her concerns after President Donald Trump tweetedthe program is "dead."

Sen. Ernst says Congress needs to find a solution for DACA. That’s the Obama administration program that shields certain unauthorized immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the county by their parents when they were young. Under the program, recipients can qualify for work permits and continue their educations. At a town hall meeting in Sigourney Tuesday, Ernst said she'll continue to work on a deal for DACA recipients.

“I’ve been an outspoken proponent for our DACA recipients. I think we have to find a pathway forward. They are contributing to our communities. They’re very important to us,” Ernst said.

She said immigrants are important to the state’s future.

“States like Iowa, we’re not really growing. We have a very elderly population. So how to do we find a way to bring in good workers into the state of Iowa and have children, and have children in our school systems and so forth,” Ernst said.

The president's declaration on twitter is part of a series of debates on DACA between the White House and members of Congress. Earlier this year, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi went as far as to deliver a marathon eight hour speech in the hopes of winning over Republican support for the program. While Ernst says a deal needs to be reached, she says she's not sure what the path forward may look like.

The Trump administration had set a March expiration date for the program, but those efforts are on hold as legal challenges make their way through the courts. In the meantime, approximately 700,000 DACA recipients across the country remain in legal limbo.

Kate Payne was an Iowa City-based Reporter