Media Contact

Sam Petto, ACLU of Nebraska Communications Director

December 19, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb – The ACLU of Nebraska welcomes Governor Pete Ricketts’ reported decision to keep Nebraska’s doors open to refugees, which falls in line with recent decisions from city and county elected officials.

The Governor’s decision comes as the number of refugees resettled in Nebraska has dropped sharply since 2016 when Nebraska was first in the nation for refugees resettled per capita.

From Oct. 2015 to Sept. 2016, Nebraska welcomed 1,441 refugees. Over that same time period this year, just 445 refugees resettled in Nebraska according to the Department of State’s Refugee Processing Center.

“We can connect these falling numbers directly to changes at the federal level, including the historically low federal limit on refugee admissions, discriminatory bans on refugees coming from Muslim-majority countries and this opt-in program, which adds unnecessary red tape and uncertainty to those seeking refuge from some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises,” said Rose Godinez, legal and policy counsel at the ACLU of Nebraska. “Refugees enrich Nebraska in every sense of the word, and we’re grateful our state’s leaders made the right call. Now, we need to show our refugees real leadership by removing these malicious barriers that have no place in Nebraska.”

This year, Nebraska welcomed refugees to Cozad, Crete, Lincoln, Omaha and South Sioux City – the majority of whom resettled in Omaha.

The ACLU of Nebraska offers legal resources for refugees and immigrants online, as well as a list of partner organizations that work to provide support to refugees and new Americans.

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