LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska's governor is targeting illegal immigrants.
Gov. Dave Heineman on Friday morning submitted a proposal that would require state agencies to verify any resident applying for state benefits is in the United States legally.
"Illegal immigrants should not receive state benefits," Heineman said in a news release. "As I travel the state, I am frequently asked about what Nebraska is going to do about illegal immigration, especially as other states have responded to the challenge. This is a measured and targeted proposal that is limited to the area over which state and local governments have control. It would help ensure that the benefits available to U.S. citizens are preserved for those who truly qualify for assistance."
Heineman was joined by Attorney General Jon Bruning and state Sen. Mike Friend of Omaha, who will have the proposal introduced as a bill in the Legislature next week.
"The budget is too tight for us to be extending even 3 to 4 percent to people who are not citizens of our state," Bruning said.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said it already screens for illegal immigrants, and that no welfare programs -- including food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare and disability -- go to illegal immigrants.
The director of Omaha's Chicano Awareness Center questioned whether the new verification plan is necessary.
"It just reeks of racial and ethnic profiling," said Rebecca Valdez at the center.
Valdez said she believes that the plan would turn state employees into federal immigration enforcement agents. She said the proposal is nothing more than political grandstanding.
"I guess I have a basic question for the governor and Attorney General Bruning, and that is: What proof do you have that it's a Latino population that's taxing state resources with regard to benefits?" Valdez said.
Heineman's office said some agencies are and some are not screening for illegal immigrants, but he refused to specify. Bruning said the legislation would create a uniform document for all agencies to follow.
~Snip~ To view the article, Click Here.