Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert wrote lawmakers Tuesday showcasing her support for LB 947, a bill that would allow so-called DREAMers to obtain professional and commercial licenses in the State of Nebraska.
Stothert says allowing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals youth to work in their profession in-state is the fair thing to do and that they shouldn’t be punished for their parents’ choices to bring them to the U.S. illegally.
“It doesn’t seem fair to allow them to be educated in our schools and not expect them to want to work in our state. Their friends are here. Their family is here. For a lot of them, Omaha is all they know,” says Stothert.
She also says this is an opportunity for young professionals to invest in Nebraska’s workforce.
“We have a labor shortage in our city. And we have a lot of good jobs. And we can't find people to fill those jobs. So I think we need to take advantage of this very talented group of young adults and give them the opportunity to be successful,” says Stothert.
Many opposing the bill say the bill rewards illegal immigration, but Stothert disagrees, saying, “DREAMers are not illegal. They have a federally authorized legal lawful status in the United States."
The bill, sponsored by State Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha, passed the first round on a 27-7 vote and is up on the agenda for Thursday or Friday. Governor Pete Ricketts is among those opposing the bill and says he’ll veto if it passes.