Because the issue of illegal immigration continues to have a direct impact on my district, our state and this nation, I feel obliged to take a leadership role on this issue and have directed legislative staff to research the Arizona illegal immigration bill recently passed into law. As part of that research process we have drafted a bill in Nebraska that mirrors the Arizona law. The drafting of a bill in no way guarantees that I will sponsor such a bill or that it will be filed when the Legislature reconvenes next January.
Over the 2010 interim, I have sponsored three interim study resolutions (LRs 520, 521, 522) to examine the impact of illegal immigration on the state of Nebraska. LR 520 asks the Appropriations Committee to examine the effects of illegal immigration on the state budget. LR 521 asks the Education Committee to examine whether the state should repeal provisions providing in-state tuition rates at our public postsecondary institutions for persons not lawfully present in the United States. LR 522 asks the Judiciary Committee to examine the legality of the state of Nebraska knowingly offering state benefits to illegal immigrants with a focus on the committee’s follow-up work on their own interim study in 2008 (LR 362) examining our benefits policies regarding illegal immigrants.
The information gathered from those hearings, feedback from my constituents, and careful monitoring of Arizona and other states will play a large part in determining what type of bill I would ultimately draft and introduce to the Nebraska Legislature, and no decisions will be made until this discovery process is complete. That said, the problem of illegal immigration is an urgent one that must be addressed in our next session, and I intend to support, and if necessary, lead the fight for reform.