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Republican governors call for policy changes along southern border

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds joined nine other Republican governors Wednesday morning touring the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We are here today to shine a light on what’s going on at the Southern Border and how it’s affecting all the states, not just the state of Texas,” said Ricketts as he took the podium. “The president must act. He cannot continue to ignore this humanitarian crisis and security crisis any longer.”

The group of governors presented a list of policies they believe will help secure the border and keep communities safe, including giving ICE the go-ahead on more deportations.

“What we’re seeing coming out of the Biden administration is incentivizing actual migration and illegal crossing is at a 20 year high,” said Reynolds.

“When President Biden took office, the first thing he did was to issue an executive order that ordered ICE to do limited deportations. That is unacceptable. That should have never happened,” said Reynolds. “All convicted, illegal, illegal criminals need to be deported and that is another thing that he could do tomorrow.”

Other policies being presented include finishing the border wall and requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their court hearing.

“One of the things the Biden administration must do is end the catch and release program. What this does is just incentivize people to come across the border illegally because they are then released,” said Ricketts.

“Our position is that Governor Ricketts and the other Republican governor’s proposal here, parts of it fly in the face of our existing legal system that’s in place to address this exact situation, said Erik Omar, Executive Director Immigrant Legal Center, noting mass migration isn’t new to the United States; it’s a country built by those seeking a better life.

“Many of the individuals who are arriving on our southern border are asylum seekers. There’s a legal process for that and we’re required under the law to process them,” said Omar, adding allowing people to stay in the country while they do so is positive. “They’re working next to you at your jobs, they’re contributing to our economy, they’re paying state, federal, local taxes, their kids are playing soccer with your kids.’

While he agrees the immigration system needs an overhaul, he said it can be done while still welcoming even mass migration.

“When it comes to the community level and the state level there’s a lot of fear mongering that happens and I think we need to look past that as Nebraskans,” said Omar.

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