Omaha, Lincoln, and Columbus — A wide variety of community and faith organizations worked together on Sunday to provide approximately 500 young Nebraskans and family members with information about a new immigration policy for DREAMers. The new Department of Homeland Security policy (DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) provides relief from deportation for law-abiding, immigrant youth who arrived in the U.S. as children.
Community nonprofits and faith groups from Omaha, Lincoln, and Columbus – together with pro bono attorneys – organized the educational forum to provide an overview of the new policy and requirements for eligibility as well as short intake interviews for youth and their families. These families will be invited to have an appointment with an immigration attorney or accredited representative at a later date. Youth attended from communities across the state. The atmosphere was full of positive energy.
“This affects many of our neighbors and Nebraska youth,” said Emiliano Lerda, Executive Director of Justice for Our Neighbors – Nebraska, who helped organize the event. “Many organizations felt it was very important to provide good quality information to young people and their families.”
“This policy is a very positive step forward,” said Darcy Tromanhauser, director of Nebraska Appleseed’s Immigrant Integration & Civic Participation Program. “It’s an opportunity for all of us to benefit from the talents of future teachers, doctors, engineers, and small-business owners who grew up in Nebraska. However, because it is a temporary policy, we still urgently need Congress to pass the DREAM Act and common-sense immigration laws that support Nebraska’s families, communities, and economy.”
“As communities of faith, we want to see policies that provide the strongest foundation for our families and communities,” said Kathleen Grant of Omaha Together One Community. “Our volunteers from Omaha Together One Community wanted to help reach out and make sure young immigrant Nebraskans and their families have the information they need to move forward.”
“Today is the beginning of an opportunity for thousands of young Nebraskans to pursue the American Dream without the fear of being sent back to a country they do not know. But it is only temporary,” said Kristin Ostrom, ACLU Community Organizer. “ACLU will continue to work to protect the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of ‘all persons’ in our country – from calling for a long-term solution such as the DREAM ACT that creates a road to citizenship – to ACLU’s continuing legal challenges of unconstitutional state and local enforcement laws across the country including Fremont, Nebraska’s ordinance.”
Sunday’s event was organized by ACLU of Nebraska, Catholic Charities of Omaha, Centro Hispano Comunitario de Nebraska, Heartland Workers Center, Justice for Our Neighbors – Nebraska, Latino Center of the Midlands, Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska DREAM Alliance, and Omaha Together One Community.
For more information about the new DREAM deferred action policy, go to www.weownethedream.org
**Photos will available at www.neappleseed.org**
Maria Dávila, Centro Hispano Comunitario de Nebraska (Columbus), 402-564-2110
Rebecca Gonzales, Nebraska Appleseed, 402-438-8853
Joe Higgs, Omaha Together One Community, 402-344-4401
Emiliano Lerda, Justice for Our Neighbors – Nebraska, 402-898-1349
Kristin Ostrom, ACLU of Nebraska, 402-317-7823
Carolina Quezada, Latino Center of the Midlands, 402 733-2720
Jossy Rogers, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Omaha, 402-939-4615
Sergio Sosa, Heartland Workers Center, 402-933-6095