Immigrant Nebraskans – our friends, our family members – and local communities are living in a constant state of alert. After decades of inaction by Congress to fix outdated immigration laws, the current Administration’s harsh policies are harming many longtime residents who are an important part of Nebraska communities. After the raids that devastated families and the community of O’Neill, we heard from many additional schools and community leaders across the state who wanted to think more carefully about how to prepare local residents, how to ensure that children will stay safe, and keep families united.
While we continue to work with local leaders across the state to show our federal delegation Nebraska’s strong support for immigration laws that align with our values and better support the future of local communities, we also train many hundreds of grassroots community members every year from Scottsbluff to South Sioux City in family safety planning and know your rights.
This year, we’ve worked to prepare and support local communities by holding facilitated workshops on topics like safety planning, Know Your Rights, and the complex immigration system. An immigration raid has an overwhelming impact on a community. As Crete’s Mayor, Roger Foster, put it, it would be like “a tornado that would take away people and leave everything else. It would leave empty storefronts, empty houses, broken families, empty churches and a community struggling with the effects of mass deportations.”
This year, together with many local and statewide partners, we trained 10 communities on safety planning – working with schools, city and faith leaders, community police, nonprofits, and service providers. It is deeply inspiring to see Nebraskans’ core community spirit in these conversations: solutions-focused and caring about neighbors. As Nebraskans in communities large and small continue to call on Congress to fix the root of the problem, we will continue facilitating these conversations and working to create community along the way throughout 2019.