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Gov. Ricketts clarifies comments about undocumented immigrants not getting vaccines

Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 9:33 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KSNB) - Earlier this week when Governor Pete Ricketts was asked if undocumented factory workers would be eligible for the COVID vaccine, he said he didn’t see them being a part of the process. In a briefing on Wednesday, he tried to clarify what he meant by that comment, but local activists say it doesn’t make them feel any better.

“It angers me, but I’m not surprised,” community activist Yolanda Nuncio told Local4 News. She also called the Governor’s comments racist.

“How does he expect them to determine who is a citizen and who isn’t a citizen?” she said. “You’re talking about racial profiling then because if you look however you might look, if you’re an immigrant or an undocumented person there is no way to tell without asking for proof of your citizenship.”

“Is that where we are heading in regards to vaccines and humanity and getting rid of the pandemic in the state of Nebraska?” Lead Organizer for Solidarity with Meat Packing Workers Gladys Godinez said. “I don’t think most Nebraskans would agree with that, so I do believe there is a risk of racism and profiling with such remarks.”

Governor Ricketts said in his briefing to work in Nebraska you must be a legal resident, so as factory workers are offered the vaccine the assumption is that they are all documented.

“Just like any other vaccine, your citizenship is not checked before you get a vaccine, like all vaccines,” Gov. Ricketts said. “By matter of law, if you’re working at one of these factories, you’re supposed to be legal.”

Activists still encourage their immigrant community to get that vaccine when it becomes available to them, because they say it’s so crucial to keeping them and their families safe.

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