Latino American Commission Reacts to Nebraska Immigration

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- It's more questions than answers for Governor Dave Heineman as he demands information regarding 200 immigrant children who have entered Nebraska without his knowledge. But the Latino American Commission, which helps protect the rights of immigrants, says one federal law that went into effect during the Bush administration back in 2008 may leave those questions unanswered.

The 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Act. It's been around for years but what does it mean for illegal immigrants in Nebraska?

"The information regarding these children is protected by this law because if they're the victims of human trafficking, we don't the human traffickers to know where they are," said Latino American Commission Executive Director, Dr. Lazaro Spindola.

Under current law, immigrant children from countries who do not border the United States are turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours of arrival.

"Once they fall under the umbrella of DHHS, Homeland Security grants them legal presence in the United States."

"Health and Human Services looks for either a relative or sponsor so the children can stay with them while their immigration hearing is conducted," said Spindola.

Spindola says the DHHS shouldn't be required to give away immigrant information because that would violate that their human rights. But some want to know, how will these children affect tax payer dollars and the quality of public education in the state.

"They're going to using taxpayers federal dollars and they're going to be using property taxes," Spindola says. "Public schools and the Department of Education need to provide education regardless of immigration status. There is a law in the book and if you do not agree with that than you need to start by changing the law."

While immigration hearings can take years, Spindola says for now these kids have a place to call home.

"These children finally arrived to a safe place where they can contemplate a future, where they can hope, where they can live without fear, but yet they are facing the possibility of being sent back."


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