Gov. Ricketts, Nebraskans Urge Lawmakers to Reconsider "Unjust" LB947
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Ricketts announced his veto at a press conference, where he was joined by two legal immigrants, one in person and one by video hookup from Chadron. Both hold professional licenses.
Eser Graham-Marski, a physical therapist in Chadron, came to Nebraska in the late 1990s on a student visa. He will become a United States citizen April 28 at a ceremony in Kearney. He is originally from Brazil.
Lawrence Asare-Danquah, a nurse in Omaha, is originally from Ghana. He also came to Nebraska on a student visa in the early 2000s. He worked through the process to become a citizen in 2010.
Both argued against LB 947, saying it is not right to afford privileges to people who broke the law to come to the U.S.
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That legislation flies in the face of the rule of law, the governor said, and is "unjust and unfair" to other immigrants who have come here legally and followed the cumbersome and often expensive process of acquiring student and work visas.
Two immigrants who live in Nebraska joined Ricketts at the news conference, one appearing via Skype, to say they believe LB947 is unfair.
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Two immigrants who have gone through the legal process joined the governor in a Capitol news conference announcing the action.
Ricketts claimed the bill extends well beyond children given legal status by the federal government and could expand further in the future.
“We know that the people the president is now trying to expand this to broke the law to cross that border illegally to come here and if we were to pass 947, we would be allowing them to apply for these same professional licenses,” according to Ricketts. “And, again, the unfairness and injustice here is stunning. So that is why I’m vetoing this bill.”
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Ricketts argued against the bill while flanked by two Nebraska residents — one from Ghana and the other from Brazil — who entered the country legally and have navigated the formal citizenship process.
Lawrence Asare-Danquah of Omaha, who moved to Nebraska from Ghana in 2002, said he completed the "very, very hard process" of becoming a citizen and didn't achieve the status until 2010.
"I feel like it's unfair for people who follow the rule of law to be penalized," he said.
Eser Graham-Marski, who immigrated to the United States from Brazil, applied for a student visa and later a work visa and spent several years working to become a citizen, which he will do next month.
"We do have an immigration system problem, but I don't believe that granting this benefit will solve the problem," he said.
Ricketts was joined at the news conference via Skype from Chadron by Eser Graham-Marski, a physical therapist at Chadron Community Hospital who came to the U-S from Brazil on a student visa and will become a naturalized citizen later this month on the 28th.
Graham-Marski, husband of Chadrad Communications' Roxi Graham-Marski, said he had worked hard after completing his college training to receive a work visa and complete the paperwork to be eligible to earn his physical therapist license and that letting those who came into the country illegally skip those steps would be unjust.
Joining Governor Ricketts in person was Lawrence Asare-Danquah of Omaha, who came from Ghana on a student visa in 2002, earned a degree from Midland University, and became a U.S. Citizen in 2010.
He told the reporters that he's currently working to bring other family members here through the legal process, calling America "an ordered society undergirded with laws and that allowing others who came to Nebraska outside the legal process to receive professional licenses is unfair."
ICYMI: Governor’s News Conference on LB947 Veto:
Letter: Veto Message
Audio: Nebraska Radio Network
Video: NET Nebraska