Comments made at a press conference on Monday, January 4 by Governor Pete Ricketts created confusion about vaccine eligibility for undocumented immigrants. The Governor’s office has clarified that proof of Citizenship is not required for Nebraskans to receive vaccinations against COVID-19.
Undocumented Nebraskans and their family members are important and vital members of our community. All Nebraskans, regardless of immigration status, should feel safe getting vaccinated. Our shared public health goal is for the pandemic to end, for that to happen everyone should be vaccinated and feel safe during the process.
“It is our understanding that every Nebraskan, regardless of documentation status, will have access to the vaccine when it becomes available and access to testing and treatment as it relates to COVID-19,” said Erik Omar, Immigrant Legal Center Executive Director. “Suggesting that undocumented Nebraskans are not eligible for the vaccine or implying that citizens will be prioritized hurts the health and safety of all Nebraskans.”
We have spoken with multiple health care organizations and vaccine distributers who have reinforced that immigration status will not be asked when receiving the vaccine.
Undocumented Nebraskans should not fear getting vaccinated as hospitals are sensitive locations. Sensitive locations are places where certain enforcement actions of immigration agents, such as ICE officers, are restricted. Sensitive locations include, but are not limited to: schools, hospitals, and places of worship.
Undocumented Nebraskan’s should not fear retribution for getting the vaccine, as US Surgeon General Jerome Adams has said “information collected during the vaccination process will “not be used in any way, shape or form to harm” people legally.” Any information gathered during the process of administrating the vaccine is used for health and safety purposes.
“We are urging all Nebraskans, regardless of immigration status, to get the vaccine when they are eligible based on the state’s prioritization schedule,” Omar said.
Those with questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccinations or those in need of immigration legal assistance can contact Nebraska Immigrant Legal Assistance Hotline (NILAH) at 1.855.307.6730.
Current clients, community partners and the public can reach Immigrant Legal Center by calling 402.898.1349 or emailing email@example.com.
We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 vaccination situation and will update as necessary.
ILC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Informational Lives
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines (for other languages click here)
- Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines (Spanish)
- COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
- View a map of COVID-19 vaccine phase 1 health care providers in Nebraska here.
Department of Health and Human Services Statewide Information