Bacon-sponsored bill honoring fallen Neb. police officer passes House

Kerrie Orozco

The U.S. House on Sept. 25 approved by voice vote the bipartisan Kerrie Orozco First Responders Act sponsored by U.S. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) to provide for naturalization processes for the immediate relatives of first responders who die as a result of their employment.

H.R. 6580, which now awaits introduction in the U.S. Senate, is named for Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco, who was killed in the line of duty in 2015 during a shootout with a gang member. The 29-year-old, seven-year police veteran was scheduled to begin maternity leave later that day to care for her prematurely born daughter.

“This is a perfect example of how we can work together and do what is right for those who serve our communities,” Rep. Bacon said. “Officer Kerrie Orozco not only made a mark on the Omaha community through her volunteer and mentoring work, she was a mother to a beautiful little girl and loving wife to her husband Hector.”

If enacted, H.R. 6580 would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow the immediate relatives of first responders who die in the line of duty to continue to process their immigration application in a timely manner, according to a statement from the congressman’s office.

Among the eight cosponsors of H.R. 6580, which Rep. Bacon introduced on July 26, are U.S. Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Fred Upton (R-MI), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA).
Under current law, surviving family members of first responders who have pending immigration applications face delays in the naturalization process, according to Rep. Bacon’s office.

“Officer Orozco’s husband Hector has an enormous responsibility as a single parent because of the loss of his wife,” the lawmaker said following the House approval of his bill. “Our first responders protect us in our communities every day, while putting their personal lives and safety at risk. This legislation honors those first responders, including law enforcement.”