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Omaha state Sen. Bob Krist talks about his independent candidacy for governor as his wife Peggy looks on at a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda on Sept. 13.

State Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha, who is preparing a third-party bid for governor, criticized Republican Sen. Ben Sasse on Thursday for failing to demonstrate support for young immigrants who have legal presence in the United States under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status.

Sasse did not attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing dealing with the DACA issue, Krist said, and he has not expressed support for the 3,000 or more young immigrants who are living and working in Nebraska.

The Trump administration has begun phasing out the DACA program, challenging Congress to devise a replacement plan.  

"More than 3,000 young Nebraskans whose parents brought them to America for a chance at a better life are relying on their United States senator to be their voice and protect and defend their rights," Krist said. 

DACA youths came to the United States as babies or young children when their parents or other adults entered the country illegally. They were accorded protected status through executive action taken by former President Barack Obama.

"Senator Sasse has an obligation to represent all Nebraskans," Krist said.  

"These young people who are benefiting from the former president's DACA order are living in a state they've called home all their lives."

Krist, who changed his voter registration from Republican to independent in preparation for a third-party bid for governor in 2018, played a lead role in helping secure enactment of state legislation giving DACA youths the right to acquire Nebraska driver's licenses and earn professional licenses that allow them to work in the state.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or

On Twitter @LJSDon.


Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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