Border crisis puts Omaha police policy under review


Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

The Omaha police department’s largely hands-off policy dealing with undocumented citizens will be getting a second look, according to Mayor Jean Stothert.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert wants a review of police policy dealing with “undocumented” persons.

Stothert’s review comes in the wake of Nebraska Watchdog’s initial report that some that 200 unaccompanied children – many from Central America – have been placed in Nebraska by federal agencies after entering the U.S. illegally.

Stothert says current police guidelines, which go back years, don’t go far enough “for this day and age.”

In an interview with KFAB radio, Stothert detailed those guidelines:

“The question of determining whether a person is undocumented is not within the jurisdiction of the Omaha Police Department. It is the policy of the Omaha Police Department that undocumented persons will not be arrested for this offense.”

Because federal law often trumps any local moves dealing with illegal immigration, its not clear how far any changes to OPD policy can go.

In the meantime Nebraska’s federal folks continue to note their frustrations dealing with the border crossing crisis.

One day after U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns introduced legislation requiring the federal government to notify state officials when undocumented border children are placed in their states, Johanns told KFAB radio his bill is just a “first step” and far from a solution.

According to Johanns, a 2008 law signed by President George W. Bush allowing children from Central America—many the target of sex trafficking—into the U.S. with few restrictions has left the rails and “must be fixed.”

Contact Joe Jordan at

Joe can be heard on Omaha’s KFAB radio every Monday at 7:40 a.m. and KHAS-AM in Hastings every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.

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