Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts. Photo by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license 2.0 (cropped)

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts turned down a White House request for help with housing displaced migrant children in Nebraska, because after all, he is a Republican and helping migrant kids would have no political upside for him. His official reason, however, was that it's all Joe Biden's fault, so don't come asking for help from Nebraska:

"President Biden has created an immigration crisis on our border with thousands of unaccompanied migrant children coming to our country without their parents or family," Ricketts said. "Nebraska is declining their request because we are reserving our resources for serving our kids."

"I do not want our kids harmed as the result of President Biden's bad policies," the Nebraska governor added.

The Omaha World notes that Ricketts said no to housing migrant kids a few days after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, also a Republican, announced she too would reject the request for assistance, presumably because the Christian thing is to deny help to children who are requesting asylum, at least if there's a political advantage to it.


For all the rightwing talk of a "crisis" at the border, recent large numbers of unaccompanied minors crossing the border are consistent with past immigration patterns, with increases in migrants crossing the border in the late winter and early spring. And while in the past month there has been crowding in Border Patrol facilities that were never intended to care for children, that's finally beginning to ease substantially as the Biden administration has opened emergency intake shelters to get kids into better housing, with social distancing and appropriate facilities.

Last week, the number of minors held by Customs and Border Protection was finally below 3,000, while those being housed by Health and Human Services was 18,773. There's still a big backlog in placing kids with sponsors in the US — usually a parent or other family member already here — which is why the administration is looking for additional temporary housing for kids, to get them into better places than the emergency shelters on military bases and in convention centers and sports arenas.

But nah, way better to make a lot of noise about Biden causing a crisis and refusing to help, ensuring kids will stay in the emergency shelters longer.

Darcy Tromanhauser of Nebraska Appleseed, a nonprofit that advocates for immigrants and people in poverty, said the real crisis is the situation faced by migrant kids fleeing violence and disasters in Central America.

We have the capacity and knowledge to coordinate an effective humanitarian response. The United States is capable of welcoming with dignity children, families, and adults seeking safety.

But Ricketts had a better idea: Let's forget US and international law, and instead of hearing kids' asylum claims, just deport 'em so we don't have to think about 'em anymore. Biden, he said, should arrange with the governments of the countries the kids are fleeing to "reunite the children with their families in their home countries instead of pursuing the risky strategy of scattering them across the United States."

Mr. Ricketts appears to be confused: It was the previous administration that actively took kids away from their parents without keeping track of which kids belonged to which parents.

Also too, good job by Paul Hammel of the Omaha World for following up with Ricketts on that bizarre claim that providing shelter for migrant teens might somehow cause "harm" to kids in Nebraska. Just what the hell was Ricketts getting at? In a statement, Ricketts explained, while adding one more kick at Biden,

"Nebraska is not positioned to provide the proper supports relative to the necessary trauma-informed care, wraparound services and housing that displaced migrant children would need," he said. "Taking on this crisis, which was created by President Biden, would also shift Nebraska's focus away from managing our foster care system and Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers."

In other words, nothing specific, but "resources," and if voters want to go ahead and think he was implying that kids asking for asylum are actually a lot of MS-13 thugs, Ricketts won't object.

And for further context, it may be worth noting that the entire topic of foster care in Nebraska has been pretty touchy recently, following a December whistleblower report that the Kansas nonprofit the state contracts with to manage foster care in the Omaha area spent $80,000 on Chicago Cubs tickets, even as the organization has had financial difficulties. Ricketts has defended contracting out management of the foster care system all the same. (Update: And yes, as several Alert Readers, Ricketts's family happens to own the Cubs. Surely a coincidence!)

So yeah, we can see how very concerned he is for Nebraska kids.

[Omaha World / Omaha Star-Herald / Photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license 2.0 (cropped)]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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