NE Gov accused of ‘blatant disregard’ of undocumented children


Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

When it comes to the ongoing border crisis some members of Nebraska’s Hispanic community, at least one state senator and the ACLU have heard enough.

Enough of Gov. Dave Heineman, along with the state’s two U.S. Senators and three members of Congress, bad-mouthing the federal government’s handling of 200 undocumented children transplanted in Nebraska.

South Omaha activist Ben Salazar tells Nebraska Watchdog that Heineman’s “history of anti-immigrant feelings” makes the governor the wrong go-to-guy in this fight.

Immigrant advocates attend a vigil to show support for the refugee children and families arriving in the Rio Grande Valley and to draw attention to the causes and solutions to the refugee crisis Friday, June 27, 2014, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/The Monitor, Gabe Hernandez)

Upset he wasn’t told the Central American kids were coming to the state—Nebraska Watchdog first reported the operation— Heineman wants the feds to notify him where the children are, who they’re with and if more are on the way.

In addition, Senator Mike Johanns has proposed legislation that would do just that.

Salazar tells Nebraska Watchdog he questions Heineman’s motives.

Ben Salazar: I flat out don’t trust the man to have good intentions about what to do with this information if he had it… I draw a parallel between these children and foster children. Don’t foster children have certain rights to privacy to ensure their safety and well-being?

Nebraska Watchdog: Do you think the federal government should be notifying the states as to where and with whom the children are placed?

Ben Salazar: Joe, I’m not so sure “who” in the state’s bureaucracy should be receiving this information. Given Gov. Heineman’s history of anti-immigrant feelings, and his recent inflammatory utterances directed at these children from Central America, why should he be in charge of having this information?

The ACLU is accusing Heineman of a “blatant disregard of what these children have gone through”—reports of gang violence and rape—and the laws that govern their treatment.

“The names of children who are seeking asylum should never be released because it could endanger them in the US – or in the very likely event that they are eventually deported back to the country where they fear persecution,” says Amy Miller, Director of the Nebraska ACLU.

Salazar, State Sen. Ernie Chambers and others are scheduled to air their concerns during a Friday news conference at the State Capitol.

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