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  1. #1

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    NE: Immigration bills touch nerve in Legislature

    Published Thursday | February 28, 2008
    Immigration bills touch nerve in Legislature
    BY LESLIE REED
    WORLD-HERALD BUREAU

    LINCOLN — The audience was passionate, but the Legislature's Judiciary Committee seemed doubtful about a proposal from Gov. Dave Heineman to crack down on illegal immigration.

    The proposal, in part, would make all state agencies verify that those seeking benefits are legal residents of the United States.

    Many in the crowd stood to applaud when Heineman entered the committee hearing room Wednesday to testify in favor of Legislative Bill 963, introduced on his behalf by State Sen. Mike Friend of Omaha.

    At least three times, Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha chastised the audience for outbursts when they disagreed with something a witness or committee member said.

    The crowd groaned when Sen. DiAnna Schimek of Lincoln said she was offended that the governor's bill also would repeal the in-state tuition benefits the Legislature passed over a Heineman veto only two years ago.

    Heineman and Attorney General Jon Bruning testified in favor of LB 963, one of three immigration-related measures taken up by the Judiciary Committee. The others:

    Legislative Bill 1170, introduced by Sen. Tom White of Omaha, would permit civil damages against employers that knowingly or recklessly recruit or hire illegal immigrants.

    Legislative Resolution 224, introduced by Sen. Tony Fulton of Lincoln, would encourage Nebraska law enforcement agencies to cooperate with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to enforce immigration law.

    The committee took no action on any of the measures.

    "I know this is a difficult and emotional issue, but it must be addressed," said Heineman, describing LB 963 as a "responsible and measured response" to illegal immigration.

    The bill would require those applying for government benefits to sign a sworn statement that they are citizens or otherwise legal residents of the state.

    Lying on the statement would be a misdemeanor. Agencies would verify the legal status of noncitizens by checking their information against Homeland Security's Systematic Alien Verification Entitlement (SAVE) program.

    Heineman said the bill is not intended to spur discrimination, nor is it intended to be used as a law enforcement tool to turn people over to immigration authorities.

    After he touted a Labor Department verification effort that he said saved the state $225,000 in unemployment benefits, Schimek asked why the bill was needed when federal law bars most government benefits for illegal immigrants and if state agencies already are verifying the status of those applying for benefits.

    "I don't get it," she said.

    Heineman responded that the bill would ensure that the verification requirement is applied uniformly and consistently across all agencies of government.

    "You mean we have agencies breaking the law?" Schimek said.

    "I wouldn't go that far," Heineman replied. "What I'm saying is that not all agencies are doing the uniform checking we should do and this is a way to ensure that we do that."

    While questioning Bruning, Ashford challenged the wisdom of taking such a bill to the Legislature when Congress has failed to act and state lawmakers have almost no authority on immigration matters.

    "Illegal immigration is a hot-button issue, it's a wedge issue, primarily because the federal government and Congress have failed to act. Republicans and Democrats have failed to act," [/b]Ashford said.

    Schimek cited news reports from Colorado that 18 state agencies spent $2.3 million to implement a similar law but reported no savings and no reduction in the demand for government services.

    Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha challenged the reliability of the database that would be used to verify immigrants' status.

    He said a similar database used to verify Social Security numbers for private employers is wrong 20 percent of the time.

    University of Nebraska President J. B. Milliken, NU Regent Chuck Hassebrook, and State College Chancellor Stan Carpenter testified against LB 963 because a provision would repeal the in-state tuition rule.

    Milliken said Heineman would not be able to meet his goal of increasing Nebraska's college-going rate by 5 percent if the in-state tuition benefit is repealed.

    "This is an important step toward encouraging talented young people to attend Nebraska colleges," he said.

    But Doug Kagan of Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom said those students are not legal residents of Nebraska and should not be allowed to attend college at lower cost than an Iraq war veteran who lives in Iowa or Missouri.

    Milliken said 28 students at the Lincoln, Kearney and Omaha campuses have taken advantage of the tuition rule, which allows those with a Nebraska high school diploma and who have lived at least three years in the state to attend the university or state colleges at resident tuition rates.
    If your ILLEGAL...get out of my country...get out of my state...get out of my community...get out of my face!...otherwise, have a nice day!
    http://nebraskaobserver.wordpress.com/

  2. #2
    Senior Member miguelina's Avatar
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    "You mean we have agencies breaking the law?" Schimek said.
    I cannot believe she even asked that question!

    Giving illegal aliens in-state tuiton IS against federal law, if I'm not mistaken. So DiAnna, the answer is YES.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)
    "

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bulldogger's Avatar
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    Oh Oh, Looks like I picked a bad day to run out of Coffee. My bad I'll find and post Senate contacts for Nebraska.

  4. #4

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    miguelina,

    We know how stupid they are with their daily actions/inactions.

    Gonna send some emails, the least they can do is throw them out because of non-resident status.

    Good Luck NE, sounds like an uphill battle.

    What is the matter with our pols?

    There is not truth to be found anywhere from them.

  5. #5

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    what my gut tells me!

    Ordinarily I am a strongly optimistic person. However, not today. After attending the hearing, I would be greatly surprised: 1) if any of the three bills discussed make it out of committee and 2) if any bill does make it to the floor, it will die a quick death. This is not what I want but what my gut tells me!
    If your ILLEGAL...get out of my country...get out of my state...get out of my community...get out of my face!...otherwise, have a nice day!
    http://nebraskaobserver.wordpress.com/

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bulldogger's Avatar
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    Hello All,
    You can e-mail the Nebraska State Senate here.
    http://www.unicam.state.ne.us/c/portal/ ... =PUB.1.323

  7. #7
    Senior Member SOSADFORUS's Avatar
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    "FedUpInNebraska" This is an article by Rep. Metcalf, (Lynne just posted it today) you might find it very interesting, NOW what I think we should do is send a copy of this to every Senator in Nebraska, With something like..... (This is what comes from our state Legislatures not doing their job keeping their oath of office and protecting the taxpayers (citizens ) of Nebraska. How dare the UN call the very patriots that are standing up and demanding out laws be enforced Names, this is a true patriot) ...And who the hell does the UN think they are?


    State Legislators for Legal Immigration
    Founder Metcalfe and Invasion PA Report Targeted by United Nations
    HARRISBURG—Pennsylvania State Representative and State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) founder Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler County) announced today that both he and his Invasion PA: National Security Begins at Home Keystone State Report have been referenced in the latest United Nations “Committee on the Elimination of Racism
    Please support ALIPAC's fight to save American Jobs & Lives from illegal immigration by joining our free Activists E-Mail Alerts (CLICK HERE)

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