Congressman Brad Ashford is attempting to address a problem that has arisen in wake of the death of Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco.
Orozco married a citizen of Mexico in 2011. While Hector Orozco has legal status, he is not a citizen.
Ashford will propose a bill that would allow the surviving spouses of first-responders killed in the line of duty to more easily obtained citizenship.
Ashford bases his bill on current U.S. policy for the surviving spouses of military personnel killed in combat. It allows those spouses to apply for expedited citizenship.
Ashford says he has received good response so far in Congress.
“I think we just have to reach out and do our work,” Ashford tells The Good Morning Show on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KFAB. “That’s what legislating is all about. We’ll take what time it takes to get a good number, hopefully, of members to sign on to the bill and then move forward.”
Hector Orozco left Mexico in 1999, at the age of 17. He works as a supervisor for a lawn care and irrigation company out of Omaha. Hector has two children from a previous marriage: Natalia and Santiago. He and Kerrie had a child, Olivia Ruth, born just three months prior to Kerrie being shot and killed while confronting a suspect. Kerrie was to begin maternity leave the day after she died.
Hector Orozco has applied for citizenship, but the wait could stretch to six years.
Ashford says he is busy attempting to get signatories on his bill. He wants to introduce it before Congress leaves on its August recess in a little over two weeks. He expects the bill to be assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
“I think the more signatories we get on the bill, the better chance we have of getting it out this year,” Ashford says. “And that would be the goal.”