City councilman says refugee order, "atrocious"

Posted at 5:56 PM, Jan 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-31 18:56:56-05

From the two key leading agencies on refugees to city officials, many believe Omaha is a very welcoming city to people seeking a better life.

Now city officials want to turn their words into activism, sending the administration a message that President Trump’s executive order needs to be re-worked.

“The way this was done was amateurish at best,” said Omaha city councilman Ben Gray, who doesn’t hold back when describing the refugee executive order, “people who should have been notified were not notified, this was not vetted properly. This was authoritarian at best.”

Gray said many of the refugees who come to Omaha find a home in his district and says they go through extreme vetting already, sometimes taking up to 2 years to fully locate here.

“Extreme vetting is already in place, this was something that did not need to occur,” said Gray.

To send a message, Gray says the city needs to speak in one voice.

“We need to be part of putting pressure on government in Washington DC as much as anybody else, this was atrocious. 

To also help do that, ordinary citizens are also trying to have their voices heard as a couple dozen people showed up at senator Ben Sasse’s office Tuesday wanting this executive order squashed.

“Very concerned about freedom of religion and the practice of that here,” said Dr. Glenn Hurst, against the latest executive order.

“It’s un-American and it’s unconstitutional it’s just not the kind of society I want to live in, where we discriminate against certain persons because of race, religion-whatever our constitution says-it’s just not right,” said Gray.

Mayor Jean Stothert also saying in a statement. “We need to do all we can to protect our homeland but I hope any delays in pending legal refugee resettlement will be as short as possible.”

“It looks like to me a solution in search of a problem because there is no problem,” said Gray.

There are over 6-thousand refugees currently living in Omaha and Gray said also a “Sanctuary City”.

Trump also said he would cut federal funding from those cities with Gray responding to that saying it would be detrimental to the city.