Gov. Dave Heineman says he isn’t the only governor wanting more information from the federal government about the influx of illegal immigrant children in his state.
And, Heineman continues to press the Obama Administration to provide more information, sending a letter along with the Nebraska Congressional delegation asking for specific information about the children now in this state.
Heineman says he still hasn’t gotten any information from President Barack Obama or anyone from his administration on the illegal immigrant children brought to Nebraska.
“We’ll treat them humanely while they’re here and then, as he (the president) has said, they need to be expeditiously returned to their country of origin,” Heineman tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “Well, let’s get about doing it and the only way you can do that is we have to know who they are and keep track of them while they’re here.”
Heineman says the issue dominated the National Governors Association meeting in Nashville this past weekend.
“This is a serious issue. It’s a crisis now,” according to Heineman. “It’s not just a few people coming across every day. It’s thousands.”
Heineman says other governors at the meeting complained about the lack of notification. Heineman adds he went so far as to bring up the issue with Vice President Joe Biden. Biden spoke to the NGA and afterward shook hands with each governor. Heineman took the opportunity to ask Biden for information during his brief time shaking the vice president’s hand.
The Obama Administration has signaled that it plans to deport most of the minors who have entered the country illegally, unaccompanied by adults. President Barack Obama is expected to ask for an emergency appropriations to speed up the legal process for the estimated 52,000 children. Most seem to have come into the country from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
Heineman has sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell signed by Sen. Mike Johanns, Sen. Deb Fischer, Congressman Lee Terry, and Congressman Adrian Smith asking for the names of the children in Nebraska and their sponsors as well as the legal status of the sponsors. [Gov. Heineman Letter to HHS] The letter states Nebraska wants to protect the health and safety of its communities as well as spare Nebraska taxpayers from any financial burden in caring for the children.
Heineman says the immigration process must be followed.
“This is a welcoming country and a welcoming state. We all immigrated from somewhere, but we done it legally and that’s the difference.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]