Hispanic community in O'Neill scared after raids

O'NEILL, Neb. (KMTV) - One day after ICE raids hit O’Neill, the town is more or less back to normal, minus a few stark differences. One of the biggest Mexican restaurants in town that were involved in the raid, La Herradura, is closed and the Hispanic immigrants in town are scared for what's next.

"What you have is families without a breadwinner for a period of time and we're talking about families that their financial means might have been limited to begin with so we want to make sure their basic needs are met," says Bryan Corkle, O’Neill science teacher. 

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Bryan Corkle is one of several O'Neill residents making sure supplies and legal assistance get to the families of those affected by the ICE raids yesterday. He says he's been unable to reach all the families involved. 

"We're trying to still identify, I know we've got a lot of families that are scared and hunkered down in locations where they feel safe," says Corkle. 

One place kids usually feel safe is in school. But O’Neill school superintendent Amy Shane does not expect full classrooms when school begins next Thursday. 

"It's a lot for any child to deal with, I'm afraid we'll probably see a lot of these children not return to school next year. I think they'll have gone elsewhere or they'll just stay home," says Amy Shane, superintendent. 

Shane and her staff are working with the Hispanic community to reassure kids and parents that they'll be okay inside these doors. 

"I hope that they know it's always been a safe place and that we can reassure of them of that but I don't know how they're going to react, I think trusting is going to be very hard for them," says Shane. 

The city of O’Neill is split on the ICE raids and Rick Nolze says his brothers disagree with him on the topic but he says O’Neill has embraced the newcomers.

“I betcha 60-70 percent of the people knew already that they were illegal, they were an asset to our community. They bought, they sold, they paid taxes," Rick Nolze, O’Neill resident. 

Once the dust settles, Corkle ultimately hopes the ICE raids bring immigration reform back to the forefront in Washington.

"The reality is we can't continue to kick the can down the road at the federal level, this is the result of that inaction and we can't do it anymore," says Corkle. 

In response to the raids the town is set to have a public meeting in the coming days to discuss the next steps.

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