Young immigrants work license bill passes final round

Posted By: Veronica Ortega

It was a huge win in the legislature for young immigrants who are allowed to stay in the U.S. thru the Federal Deferred-Action Program, also known as DACA.  

Senators passed a bill that would let them qualify for more than 100 professional and commercial licenses. DACA recipients were overjoyed with the news and afterward shared hugs with the bill’s introduced by Omaha Senator Heath Mello.

"We want to contribute to the talents, the workforce, and the economy, and ultimately we’re just hard working passionate people that want to continue living in the state we call home," DACA Recipient, Fatima Flores-Lagunas, said.

The bill passed with a vote of 33-11, despite a letter sent to lawmakers from Governor Pete Ricketts, urging them to vote against it. Ricketts says the bill undermines the rule of law, and is unfair to immigrants who followed the legal process to come to this country.

During the final reading, Papillion Senator Bill Kintner took a stand with the governor, and challenged other lawmakers to do the same.

"I think this is a policy that needs to be solved by the federal government," Sen. Kintner, said.

Kintner tried to delay passage of the bill but ultimately withdrew his amendments allowing the final vote to take place. Ricketts has vowed to veto the bill, but supporters say they’re confident they have the 30 votes they need to override it.

"We still have to continue to make the argument to the governor, and many other Nebraskans across the state, on how important this is to keep educated skilled individuals living and working in Nebraska," Sen. Mello, said.

The bill passed with the emergency clause, meaning it would go into effect immediately, depending on if it becomes law. Governor Pete Ricketts has until Tuesday to sign or veto the bill.