Gov. Pete Ricketts has sent a letter to state senators urging them to reject a bill that would allow the children of illegal immigrants to apply for professional licenses.
Ricketts says his stance should come as no surprise to lawmakers.
“Well, I’ve consistently opposed providing benefits to people who came here illegally and this bill in particular creates a huge injustice in our system,” Ricketts tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Ricketts says he recently met with a family from Holdrege that had to wait 16 years to get permanent residence status.
“And so, it is a huge injustice to those people who are going through the immigration process the right way to provide these professional licenses to people who came here illegally and that’s why I oppose this law,” Ricketts says. “It’s creating a fundamental injustice for the people who are doing it the right way and really subverts the rule of law.”
Ricketts stops short of issuing a veto threat, saying he will let the legislature move through its process.
LB 947 would allow youth given legal status by the federal government under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to apply for a professional license in Nebraska.
The governor claims the bill would go much further, extending professional and commercial licenses not only to DACA youth, but to those asking for asylum in this country or those seeking temporary protected status from countries such as Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.
“The proper process to address the granting of legal status is for the President to work with Congress to address our immigration laws,” Gov. Ricketts stated in his letter to legislators. “By circumventing our current immigration process, LB947 undermines the rule of law and is unjust to all the immigrants, permanent residents, and naturalized citizens who legally followed the established process.”
LB 947 has sparked some heated debate in the Unicameral, but hasn’t attracted very many “No” votes, easily moving to final reading, which is scheduled for today.