Future of refugees in Nebraska waiting for Governor's decision

Published: Dec. 12, 2019 at 7:02 PM CST
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President Trump issued an executive order in late September requiring state and local governments to send a letter to the federal government by Christmas if they want to continue welcoming refugees. With less than two weeks to go Nebraska’s governor is making some people nervous.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has done it, the governor of Kansas has done it, and so has the governor of North Dakota, just to name a few states who've confirmed they will continue welcoming refugees.

The question is, will Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts get it done?

Hannah Wyble runs a non-profit that helps refugees navigate their new lives in the Omaha area. The refugees here are taking part in a program at the Refugee Empowerment Center.

Wyble is one of many who have written to the governor asking him not to shut the door.

“Ourselves and numerous other agencies reached out to our supporters and asked people to reach out to the governor and ask him to send in the letter so refugees can continue to settle here in Nebraska,” said Wyble.

Earlier this month Wyble got a response from the governor about his decision-making process and it offers more insight than we've been able to get. We've reached out to the governor's office several times but the only comment we get is that they are reviewing the executive order.

"He said he was reviewing the executive order, but he was also concerned about security and wanting assurances from the Federal Government that they are being properly vetted,” said Wyble.

Nearly 12,000 refugees resettled in Nebraska between 2002 and 2018, reaching a high in 2016 when 1800 refugees landed here. It's a number that could quickly drop to zero if the governor doesn't meet the December 25th deadline.

The executive order requires all local governments also send a letter to the state department by December 25th if they want to continue welcoming refugees into their communities. The mayor of Omaha previously confirmed she would be sending a letter. Bellevue and Council Bluffs are still reviewing the order.

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