Gov. Dave Heineman defies President Obama’s executive order that allows illegal immigrants brought to this country as children the right to receive a driver’s license and work.
Heineman says President Obama’s deferred action program does not make them legal citizens.
“The State of Nebraska will continue its practice of not issuing driver’s licenses, welfare benefits or other public benefits to illegal immigrants unless specifically authorized by Nebraska statute,” Heineman tells reporters. “So, I want to be very, very clear what he’s doing doesn’t grant them legal status and, therefore, our policies are not changing.”
The action by the Obama Administration is officially called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The administration projects it could allow as many as 1.7 million illegal immigrants eligible to receive driver’s licenses and other official documents necessary to work legally in this country. Applicants cannot be older than 31 and must have arrived in this country as children. They cannot have a criminal record.
Heineman says the federal government’s failure on immigration creates conflicts between the federal government and the states.
“When you don’t secure the border, have a speedier, technological way to legal immigration and you won’t address the issue that we have 15 million illegal immigrants in the country right now, we end up with these situations,” Heineman says.
Heineman says the administration and Congress need to address illegal immigration to resolve the issue.
“America and Nebraska is a welcoming country and a welcoming state. We’re glad to have them in our state, but do it legally. And when they don’t do it legally, then you create all sorts of problems,” according to Heineman. “But, if you’re here illegally, you shouldn’t have a driver’s license.”
Heineman insists the president’s action does nothing to change the status of illegal immigrants.
AUDIO: Gov. Heineman’s statement of the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action program. [:35]