A state senator hopes there’s a change at the top, but if not, he plans to push ahead for a change in state policy that would allow youth brought to Nebraska illegally when young to obtain driver’s licenses.
Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha accuses former Gov. Dave Heineman of stubbornly fighting against the driving privileges of such youth for political reasons.
“It was clear that the Heineman Administration, throughout the entire administration, liked to score political points on the backs of immigration youth. That’s how, many would say, he became the Republican nominee for governor,” Nordquist tells reporters at a Capitol news conference. “We’re all hopeful that the new administration will turn a page on that and think about the future of Nebraska.”
Nordquist has introduced legislation that would allow those enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to receive driver’s licenses.
Nebraska is the only hold out among the 50 states. There are approximately 2,300 DACA youth living in the state.
Nordquist says he and other advocates have been talking with the office of Gov. Pete Ricketts to see if a change in the governor’s office would result in a change in policy toward DACA youth.
Nordquist says some Nebraska politicians will still use immigration as a political wedge issue.
“I think it’s a shrinking number. I think one of the publications in the state did a statewide poll recently on immigration reform and just the issue of immigration and it had strong support all across Nebraska,” according to Nordquist.