Latinos Fight Back In Immigration Debate

It's a hot issue in this country with no easy answers: the flood of Central American children sweeping across our southern border.

Governor Dave Heineman is drawing heat because of the firm stance he has taken. A group of Latinos voiced their frustrations Friday in Lincoln.

"I don't recall calling the governor a racist. I may have used the word bigot," said Ben Salazar, a Latino community member.

"How can a nation founded on 'One nation under God, with liberty and justice for all,' turn their back on these children and not be willing to give asylum?" said Marta Nieves, a Latina community member.

The gathering at the Nebraska capital was called to express anger over Governor Heineman's stance on illegal immigrants.

"My God, these are innocent children! Shame on government officials who guise and hide behind their own agenda," said Dr. Marty Ramirez, another Latino community member.

Heineman wants to know who is coming to Nebraska, and what services they are receiving. In a statement Friday, he said, “According to federal law, the children in question are unaccompanied alien children. The ACLU and others are trying to divert attention from that fact. This is an issue of transparency and protecting the integrity of taxpayer funded benefits. The State of Nebraska can’t ensure that any illegal individual is not getting taxpayer funded benefits if we don’t know who they are. The question for Senator Chambers, the ACLU and others is, why do you favor secrecy in government instead of transparency. What is the federal government hiding?”

Earlier in the week, Heineman said, "I agree with the president. We're going to treat them humanely while we're here, but they should be expeditiously returned to their country of origin, so we need to keep track of them."

While the debate goes on, so does the flow of immigrants along the border. Those at the capital Friday wanted the emphasis to remain on the fact that most are children.

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