31-13 vote overrides governor's veto on immigration bill

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- As the doors closed on the final day of the 2016 legislative session in Nebraska, another opened for many hoping for a better life.

Nebraska lawmakers voted 31-13 Wednesday to override Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto on LB 947, a bill that would grant professional licenses to immigrants brought over to the U.S. illegally as children.

The voting came down to the last few senators.

Alejandra Ayotitla, a junior at UNL, is one of the people that would benefit from this law as she was brought to the U.S. as a child. She was at the Capitol building Wednesday awaiting the vote.

"Every time as the votes for yes started to go up," Ayotitla said, "when we saw the number go up, the excitement just grew more and more. And after we hit 30, that's when we... finally... we could breathe after 30."

Ayotitla is studying psychology and has aspirations of going to grad school and eventually working with children in schools. But, she said she needed this bill to pass, otherwise she would have to consider moving to another state.

"Really relieved that I don't have to think about moving somewhere else," Ayotitla said, "so, now I can actually focus on where do I want to go to grad school."

Dozens of other people the bill would impact joined Ayotitla at the legislature Wednesday. The bill has an emergency clause attached so it became effective immediately following the vote.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview following the decision, Gov. Ricketts said he wished senators agreed with his point of view.

"I believe this creates a huge injustice for people who are doing this process legally," Ricketts said, "and that the majority of Nebraskans believe that it is wrong to provide benefits to people who came here illegally."

But, for Ayotitla, she said this vote makes a statement.

"Sends a message to all of our youth that we are welcome here and that we can contribute to this place we call home," Ayotitla said.