Things That Matter

Nebraska Governor Says Undocumented Meatpacking Workers Aren’t Eligible For Vaccine

Vaccination plans are rolling out across the country as states race to vaccinate their populations against Covid-19. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts is taking a slightly different approach by excluding undocumented meatpacking plant employees.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts spoke to reporters about the state’s vaccination plan.

The governor caused a stir when discussing the overall plan to roll out the vaccine. Gov. Ricketts spoke about the needs to vaccinate workers in the meatpacking industry with the exception of undocumented workers.

“Again, you’re supposed to be a legal resident of the country to be able to be working in those plants so I do not expect that illegal immigrants will be part of the vaccine with that program,” Gov. Ricketts told reporters.

Meatpacking plant workers are included as essential workers are a slated to be vaccinated early on.

According to Gov. Ricketts’ briefing, meatpacking industry workers will be vaccinated in Phase 1B of the plan. They follow healthcare workers, utility workers, and educators on the list of Nebraskans to be vaccinated.

Immigration advocates are sounding the alarm over the governor’s words. The virus infects everyone and activists are calling on Nebraska to change its plan to vaccinate everyone living in the state.

Gov. Ricketts’ communication office tweeted out a statement trying to backtrack on the comments.

Nebraska is the first state to publicly state that undocumented residents will be intentionally excluded during the original vaccination plans. Each state has created its own plans for vaccinations with most following recommendations from the federal government to start with frontline workers.

Florida and Texas have focused more on inoculating the elderly population. Colorado originally decided to vaccinate prisoners before those with underlying health conditions but rewrote the plan after heavy criticism.

Don’t worry. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is already raising her voice on the issue.

According to the Associated Press, undocumented immigrants make up about 14 percent of the meatpacking workforce in South Dakota and Nebraska. About 66 percent of meatpacking plant workers in Nebraskas are immigrants.

READ: Covid-19 Cases Surge In Meat-Processing Plants As COVID-19 Spreads In Rural America

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