Neb. Lege Overrides Veto of Immigrant Job-Licensing Bill

     LINCOLN, Neb. (CN) — In a 31-13 vote, the Nebraska Legislature overrode Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto of a bill to allow immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children to obtain professional and commercial licenses.
     Ricketts, a first-term Republican, vetoed LB947 late last week despite strong support in the Legislature. Only two senators withdrew their support for the bill: Dan Hughes of Venango and Curt Friesen of Henderson, both Republicans in the state’s officially nonpartisan body.
     Even with the defections, the veto override was carried. Thirty votes are required to enact a law over the governor’s objections.
     The bill applies to immigrants who are now legal U.S. residents and obtain work authorization papers from the Department of Homeland Security. It opens up potential careers in over 100 professions.
     “I’m truly disappointed in the governor’s decision to veto LB947 and turn his back on the talented, highly skilled residents of Nebraska who simply want to work in their trained profession and help grow Nebraska,” Democrat Heath Mello said on his website. Mello represents a constituency in South Omaha that includes many Hispanics and has been one of the bill’s most vocal supporters.
     “We’re talking about people, we’re talking about the future of our state,” Mello said during the debate that led up to the veto override vote on this final day of the 2016 legislative session.
     LB947 was co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of eight Republicans and six Democrats, including Mello.
     In his veto letter, Ricketts expressed concern over the fairness and timing of the bill.
     “I understand the desire to help these individuals,” Ricketts wrote before moving on to his objections. “LB947 is premature and exacerbates the uncertain situation of individuals in a deferred-action status. It is also an attempt to codify benefits in state law at the same time as there are serious legal challenges to the federal government’s extension of the temporary deferred status to the DACA and DAPA groups.”
     DACA, an acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a U.S. immigration policy that allows some immigrants who entered the United States illegally before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to receive renewable two-year work permits and exemption from deportation.
     DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents is an Obama administration plan to give undocumented immigrants with children who are either permanent legal residents or U.S. citizens exemption from deportation and renewable three-year work permits.
     The U.S. Supreme Court will decide the legality of DAPA later this year.

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