Gov. Pete Ricketts

LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts on Monday expressed confidence that the federal government will fix the problems that have occurred with implementing the president’s executive order on refugees and immigrants.

“There’s always room for improvement,” the governor said during a press conference.

Ricketts made no comment about the order itself, other than to note that he had expressed concern last year about how well refugees are vetted.

The order is just a temporary pause to look at the vetting process and make sure that the United States avoids problems, such as happened in Europe, where terrorists posed as refugees to carry out terrorist acts, he said.

Ricketts said Nebraska has always been a welcoming state and last year welcomed more than its share of refugees.

He encouraged Nebraskans concerned about those refugees to volunteer for one of the private agencies that help families get resettled in the state.

Nebraska Legislature

LINCOLN — Nebraska lawmakers may have a chance to go on record expressing support for protecting refugees regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age or sex.

State Sen. Kate Bolz of Lincoln, with nine co-sponsors, introduced Legislative Resolution 27 on Monday. Nine introducers are Democrats, the 10th is a Republican.

The resolution says that “many refugees have earned green cards and call this country home, and others have been shown, through extensive vetting, to bear good will toward our nation.”

It also said refugees “include people fleeing war and oppression and include children and families in need of safety.”

The measure will be referred to a committee for further consideration.

University of Nebraska

University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds and the four NU chancellors issued a joint statement Monday, calling the president’s executive order “disturbing and disruptive to our students and employees.”

The statement said about 150 NU system students and faculty members come from the countries named in the ban.

“Together our campuses make up a richly diverse community of scholars from around the globe, representing countless ethnicities, faiths, backgrounds and academic disciplines — all brought together by a common desire to learn, to create a better future, and to use the power of education to change the world,” the statement says, in part.

“Now, more than ever, we must be more inclusive, not less. And universities should lead the way.”

The four chancellors are Ronnie Green of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Dr. Jeffrey Gold of the University of Nebraska Medical Center; John Christensen of the University of Nebraska at Omaha; and Doug Kristensen of the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Other statements in response to Trump order

“For decades, refugee families have settled in Omaha and contribute to the important cultural diversity of our city. The City of Omaha has always been, and will remain, a very welcoming city for legal refugees. We need to do all we can to protect our homeland, but I hope any delays in pending legal refugee resettlement will be as short as possible. Our Human Rights and Relations Department provides important assistance to refugees as they begin their new lives in our city, particularly in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations. We will continue to work with local organizations such as Lutheran Family Services to provide safety and support for all Omaha residents.” — Mayor Jean Stothert

“As a member of the board of Catholic Relief Services for the last five years, I have come to trust and admire CRS’s work with international refugees. In response to the recent executive order, I am reminded of the words of Pope Francis: ‘There must be no family without a home, no refugee without a welcome, no person without dignity.’

“We do not know the short-term outcome of the executive order; however, we do know what we can do now. We have the freedom to be Christ for those already in our midst. I encourage all Catholics to reach out to refugees and immigrants in our community who need help, and to contact their congressional representatives to make sure that this temporary moratorium is lifted as soon as possible.” — Omaha Archbishop George Lucas

“An issue that I share with fellow university presidents is the diminishment of the strength of American universities’ research and education if the numbers of international students and faculty are sharply limited. The Society of Jesus has a particularly rich history of engaging foreign cultures and customs and, in particular, working with people who are suffering and displaced. ... It is that very Catholic, Jesuit mission that invites us to reach out in support of immigrants and refugees.” — the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, president of Creighton University

Creighton will hold an interfaith prayer service at St. John’s Church at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 8.

Compiled by World-Herald staff writers Martha Stoddard and Rick Ruggles

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Martha Stoddard keeps legislators honest from The World-Herald's Lincoln bureau, where she covers news from the State Capitol. Follow her on Twitter @StoddardOWH. Phone: 402-473-9583.

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