Lincoln (KPTM) - The Governor's bill targeting illegal immigration hits a roadblock. A legislative panel voted five to one against advancing it to the full unicameral. On Friday Nebraska's Governor and Attorney General tried to find ways to keep it alive.
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman says, "I've felt strongly about this for a long period of time."
So strongly Governor Heineman is taking his immigration fight to the public again.
The Governor's bill would take state benefits from people who are here illegally and from their children. "It's not appropriate for illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition," Heineman says.
Heineman says hundreds of children of illegal immigrants get in-state tuition at state colleges; a benefit he says should go to National Guard members who are paying out of state tuition. "They're here defending our freedom and they aren't entitled to in-state tuition, it seems to me we have our priorities mixed up," Heineman says.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln leaders disagree. UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman says, "Many of these students were brought to the U.S. by their parents at an age when they were too young to appreciate the legal consequences of their actions."
They went on to say. "It is a mistake to think that denying these students the chance to attain an affordable college education will somehow serve as an immigration enforcement strategy."
Senator Ernie Chambers was at the Governor's press conference and took the mic quickly afterwards. Chambers says the issue isn't just about immigration.
Chambers says, "All this is that there are people coming into their community and they're people they don't like, they don't like their complexion, they don't like their language, that's what it's all about."
The battle is not yet over, State Senator Brad Ashford the head of the panel says, there's a chance the bill could be debated on again if the governor takes the in-state tuition issue out of it.