Gov. Dave Heineman shies away from endorsing an Arizona-style law to crack down on illegal immigration in Nebraska.
Heineman says he has not studied the law debated in oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court, but says a lack of federal action has forced states to try to act.
“We support legal immigration in this state, not illegal immigration. It is a serious issue for this state and the failure of the federal government to act on this issue creates all sorts of challenges. We’ve seen them in Nebraska. You see them in Arizona, in other states across America,” Heineman tells reporters in a conference call.
Arizona law allows police officers to make routine inspections of immigration status during stops. The United States Supreme Court has taken up the case and heard oral arguments in it last week.
Heineman still smarts over the legislature’s move to override his veto of a bill extending state prenatal benefits to illegal immigrants.
“We just had the debate in the last legislative session. I vetoed the bill that would give state-funded benefits to illegal immigrants,” Heineman says. “I don’t think most Nebraskans support that. So, these issues are going to continue to come up.”
Heineman says the money flowing to illegal immigrants will leave less money for core state services, such as education.
AUDIO: Gov. Dave Heineman on Arizona’s illegal immigration law [:20]