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After Clarkson letter, ACLU encourages Alaskans needing immigration help to contact Dunleavy

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska wants Alaskans with immigration problems to ask Gov. Mike Dunleavy to lean on President Donald Trump on their behalf.

File: Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, left, with Gov. Mike Dunleavy, right. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

The announcement came after the governor sent an official letter to the president in December requesting aid for his attorney general, Kevin Clarkson, who is seeking immigration documents so his Colombian wife and stepson can live in the United States. Clarkson, in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, said the governor would have offered similar help to any Alaskan who asked.

On its website Thursday, the ACLU said “thousands of families are living in the same state” of uncertainty as Clarkson, who has struggled for close to three years to get the needed federal approvals for his wife, Johanna Ferrer Zarache de Clarkson, and her 6-year-old son.

The ACLU created an online form where people can send an email to the governor and attorney general. They can spell out problems they have faced negotiating federal immigration policies.

“Thank you for being willing to elevate Alaska’s immigration issues directly to the Office of the President. I eagerly await your response and assistance,” the form concludes.

The attorney general and the governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Dunleavy has said he has a “pretty good” relationship with Trump.

On Dec. 2, Clarkson wrote a personal letter to Trump asking for his help, and asked the governor to deliver it. The governor’s request served as a cover letter.

It is unclear if anything came of the governor’s request to the president.

“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,” the group said in a statement associated with the form letter.

“Our current immigration system is so broken, dysfunctional and cruel that our state’s top attorney has had to ask for help to make it work,” the group said.

The ACLU also raised Dunleavy and Clarkson’s past support for the Trump administration’s policies toward immigration, including "a U.S. Supreme Court brief that encourages the separation of families, as well as by sending Alaska National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexican border,” the group said.

Megan Edge, a spokeswoman with the group, said ACLU of Alaska wants to help people who are separated from their families because of immigration problems.

The ACLU didn’t have specific cases in mind, Edge said. It is trying to understand how big an impact U.S. immigration policies are having in Alaska, she said.

The information on the form is private to everyone but the governor and attorney general, who will receive an email, Edge said.

“Perhaps this is a step in the right direction in fixing immigration issues that Alaskans have,” Edge said.

The ACLU of Alaska is involved in multiple lawsuits against the governor, including one over his $335,000 veto last year from the Alaska judiciary budget over the court’s abortion rulings.

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