By The Hutchison News, Oct. 18
Kansas municipal leaders want to legitimize immigrants who are in the state illegally at present. Even the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, with its ultra-right-wing politics, wants a new business-friendly immigration policy. That means a way for industries that rely on immigrant labor not to have their workforces wholesale deported.
It is time for the politicians to listen to local and business leaders and quit pandering to Kris Kobach – Kansas secretary of state and leading crusader against illegal immigration – and the bigoted ideologues.
The League of Kansas Municipalities issued a statement Monday at its annual meeting urging Congress to enact immigration reform that includes what the organization calls a “reasonable” path to citizenship for immigrants now in the U.S. illegally. Hutchinson City Manager John Deardoff was elected president of the League at the same meeting.
The statement follows a letter to the state’s congressional delegation in August signed by more than 30 Kansas mayors, urging support for immigration reform.
“We support a federal solution to immigration reform that allows reasonable access to citizenship while assuring adequate border security and protecting our economy and workforce,” the League’s position on immigration reform stated.
“Any immigration legislation generated by Congress cannot burden local governments with extra law enforcement or administrative burdens. This federal problem needs a federal solution paid for with federal resources,” the mayors’ letter said. Area mayors signing the letter included leaders from Buhler, Coldwater, Mount Hope, Stafford, Moundridge, Russell, Syracuse and Leoti. Mayors of Wichita and Topeka also were signers.
Sadly, Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts of Kansas lack the self-confidence to stray from the talking points of the tea party forces. They both voted against sensible immigration reform that passed the Senate 68-32 in June. The four members of the House who represent Kansas aren’t likely to be any more courageous and sensible.
Border security already has been beefed up, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, focusing on removal of people with felony records and other repeat problems, deported a record nearly 410,000 people in 2012.
The reality is that too many immigrants are here illegally simply to deport them all. And most of them are good, law-abiding, hard-working people who are working jobs that would go unfilled were the radicals to be successful in their ethnic cleansing campaign.
It is good to see leaders of Kansas cities get behind good, realistic immigration policy and try to talk some sense into the politicians in Washington.