ICE Raids in O’Neill, Neb., were avoidable |

ICE Raids in O’Neill, Neb., were avoidable

Nebraska State Sen. Tom Brewer
District 32

The situation in O’Neill, Neb., where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids arrested 133 people was entirely avoidable. All of the grief this has caused employers, people and families was unnecessary.

In the first session of the 2017 Legislature, I introduced LB 165. This bill would have required all employers in Nebraska to use the E-Verify system. E-Verify confirms someone’s lawful immigration or citizenship status. Currently, only state and federal employers must use E-Verify in Nebraska. The bill died in the Judiciary Committee without a vote.

As quoted in the Lincoln Journal Star, the Nebraska Appleseed organization said Nebraskans “now have a front-row seat to the destruction that (the Trump administration’s) anti-immigrant policies levy on families and communities.”

The law ICE enforced had nothing to do with immigrants or immigration. People who enter the United States illegally, or those who remain here after their visa expires, are criminal illegal aliens who are in the country unlawfully — they are not immigrants. The people who are immigrants follow our laws and obtain permanent resident alien status (Green Cards) or become naturalized U.S. citizens lawfully.

For those concerned about the “destruction on families and communities” that enforcing our laws supposedly causes, they should support a bill like LB 165 so this suffering can be avoided. Instead, individuals and groups such as Nebraska Appleseed, came to the bill hearing and testified against it. This baffles me because LB 165 is the humane thing to do. Requiring employers to use E-Verify is good for everyone. It discourages illegal aliens from coming to Nebraska in the first place. Using E-Verify prevents employers from facing severe fines and penalties, and stops the human exploitation that occurred in this case. It makes the ICE raid in O’Neill something that would have never happened. ❖

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