A bill named after fallen Omaha Police officer Kerrie Orozco passed in the U.S. House Tuesday evening.
The Kerrie Orozco First Responders Act passed in a voice vote and awaits introduction into the Senate.
Under the bill sponsored by Republican Omaha Congressman Don Bacon, the immediate relatives of first responders who die in the line of duty can continue to process their immigration application in a timely manner despite the death of their loved one. Under current law, the surviving family members of first responders who have pending immigration applications face delays in the naturalization process. Orozco's widower, Hector, came to this country years ago from Mexico. He is now a legal permanent resident.
In 2016, former Omaha Congressman Brad Ashford and Congressman David Young of western Iowa, pushed for it.
Congressman Bacon's office issued this statement: "Officer Orozco's husband Hector has an enormous responsibility as a single parent because of the loss of his wife. Our first responders protect us in our communities every day, while putting their personal lives and safety at risk. This legislation honors those first responders, including law enforcement.
"I want to thank the cosponsors of this legislation, Orozco family attorney Kristen Fearnow, and many other supporters. I also would like to thank former Congressman Brad Ashford who introduced similar legislation in 2016 named after Officer Orozco.
"This is a perfect example of how we can work together and do what is right for those who serve our communities. Officer Kerrie Orozco not only made a mark on the Omaha community through her volunteer and mentoring work, she was a mother to a beautiful little girl and loving wife to her husband Hector."