On September 15th, Nebraska civic leaders joined hundreds in Washington, D.C. today to point the way forward for common-sense and humane immigration reform. The national day of action “RELIEF, REFORM, RESPECT: Civic Leaders Stand for Immigrant Families” brought hundreds of civic leaders and people of faith to the Capitol. A delegation of four Nebraska leaders visited Congressional offices to communicate deep concerns over the social and economic costs to Nebraska cities, families, and youth due to the lack of a workable system at the federal level and the destructive state and local laws emerging as a result.
“The climate of hostility and suspicion developing in Fremont after the vote over our local immigration ordinance is deeply worrisome,” said Pastor Michael Ostrom, a Lutheran pastor from Fremont. “This is not what Nebraska communities are about. It is a reminder of the moral urgency for real solutions at the federal level.”
Michael Nolan of the League of Nebraska Municipalities said, “The League of Nebraska Municipalities has taken a position opposing policies that attempt to regulate immigration at the local level. This is a federal issue. Our cities and towns can’t afford the enormous social and economic costs generated by local immigration laws, which are often resulting in expensive litigation and divided communities. For this reason we are urging our federal elected officials to act now.”
On Tuesday, Senator Reid announced that he will bring the DREAM Act to the Senate floor for a vote. Nebraska teacher and wrestling coach Bryan Corkle from O’Neill described the importance of the bill: “As a teacher, I started to realize that I didn’t know which of my talented students had a path forward and which did not. This is an issue woven into the fabric of our communities, and I find that as soon as Nebraskans learn about this, they care deeply. The DREAM Act will allow Nebraska youth to continue to invest their talents in their home state and Nebraska’s future.”
The day highlighted the stories of hundreds of family members daily torn apart by an outdated immigration system and the high social cost of a lack of reform.
“We have a commitment in our state to finding common-sense policies that provide the best foundation for our future and treat people fairly,” said former state senator DiAnna Schimek. “This is an issue that concerns all of us. We need a workable system that upholds our values, keeps families united, and moves us forward together.”