Archive for Thursday, April 13, 2006

Kansas lawmakers divided on immigrant bill

Moore says he didn’t want measure to become law; Ryun stands by original vote

April 13, 2006


— They cast their votes in December.

But now the immigration bill that earned the support of every member of the Kansas delegation to the U.S. House is stirring massive nationwide protests.

Lawrence's representatives were united in their vote for the bill, but now appear divided.

Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Lenexa, whose district includes east Lawrence, said Wednesday that there were many provisions in the House bill he disliked and that he would not support it again.

"I voted for it to advance the process. I was confident nothing like that was going to," become law, Moore said.

But Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Lawrence, whose district includes the west side of Lawrence, said he stood by his vote for HR 4437.

"I still think it was the right measure," Ryun said.

'Political miscalculation'

The bill would have declared illegal immigrants - and those who helped them - to be felons, and it would have constructed hundreds of miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border and required that businesses verify the legality of all employees.

The measure was approved in the House 239-182, then trashed in the Senate before a bipartisan plan to provide a path for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship also failed.

Debate on the issue has sparked a nationwide immigrant-rights movement that has caused some House Republican leaders to back off the felony provisions of the bill.

Support of the House bill was "the most serious political miscalculation of recent years," said Melinda Lewis, director of policy advocacy and research for Kansas City, Kan.-based El Centro.

"Now, politicians are backpedaling," Lewis said. "They really just guessed wrong. Of course, people want us to secure our borders, but they want to do it right."

Moore's support

Moore said he voted for the bill because it "represented a first statement that protecting our borders is important."

He held his nose on the criminal provisions and the proposal to construct a fence because he said he knew those would not survive in the Senate. He was one of only 36 Democrats who voted for the bill.

Lewis said she wasn't happy with Moore's reasons.

"To say 'I voted for it because I'm confident it would never become law' is pretty pathetic," she said.

Despite statements from House Republican leaders to remove some of the criminal provisions, Ryun said he stood by the original bill.

"Rewarding illegal behavior encourages more illegal behavior," he said.

He said he understood Christian leaders who recently have sided with illegal immigrants and urged amnesty, but added: "There is another side. A number of Christians who have come through legal immigration. They've done it legally."

Moore said border security and immigration enforcement were a crucial part of national security.

But he said there must be ways for hard-working people to come to the United States.

He said undocumented workers who are already here should be allowed an opportunity toward legal status if they learn English and U.S. history, pay a fine for entering the country illegally, submit to a security check and pay taxes.


geekin_topekan 12 years ago

Makes you wonder if he even read the thing.

Bronco7fan 12 years ago

keep at it Jim. I apreciate your stand on the bill.

Jamesaust 12 years ago

Moore - unlike 90% of those voting for the House bill [a/k/a, The Undocumented Infant Aggrevated Felon Act], he's concerned about border security and not obsessed about beheading the aliens among us.

Some, including Ryun of course, are so fixated on exacting the maximum punishment for these lawbreakers(!!!!!) that they are willing to leave the borders broken rather than accept anything less than an expulsion policy.

gueraporfuera 12 years ago

I've heard consumer1's little hypothetical so many times, so let me answer as a U.S. citizen who has lived and worked in Mexico. Yes, I'm bilingual and that makes life easier, but immigrants here are learning English, as much as you'd like to delude yourself to the contrary.

Enter Mexico illegally. Never mind immigration quotas, visas, international law, or any of that nonsense.

Americans are entering Mexico "illegally" ALL THE TIME. I worked for months before I was able to get a permit, and immigration officials weren't hunting me down. They're pretty happy when people are employed.

*Once there, demand that the local government provide free medical care for you and your entire family. Demand bilingual nurses and doctors. Demand free bilingual local government forms, bulletins, etc. *

First, American doctors are only required to give EMERGENCY treatment regardless of immigrant status or a patient's ability to pay. That's Supreme Court-tested based on our constitution. I had to go to a Mexico City ER and didn't have money to pay at the time. What did those crazy third-worlders do? Work with me to figure out how to pay part of it over time. Radical.

Also, in Mexico you don't have to demand anything in English because there's an English speaking person everywhere you go. English dominates the rest of the world, and most of the world recognizes that it's more beneficial to accept that people have varying skill levels in different languages than bitch and moan about how they don't speak their language well enough.

gueraporfuera 12 years ago


*Keep your American identity strong. Fly Old Glory from your rooftop, or proudly display it in your front window or on your car bumper. * I had an American flag and British flag in the window of our apartment. Didn't have a car, but did attend July 4 celebrations in Mexico City. Nobody gave me a hard time because they knew that I still loved my country even though I loved and lived in their country.

Speak only English at home and in public and insist that your children do likewise.* I spoke both, and heard English all the time. In places like Bogota, there are plenty of people who live and get by without speaking Spanish. It's not ideal, but it's not the end of the world, either.

Demand classes on American culture in the Mexican school system. Mexico doesn't need such classes. They have a better K-12 education system and actually teach world history, unlike most public schools here. That, plus MTV, etc., and I guarantee you an average Mexican teen knows more about the U.S. government and American culture than a typical American teen.

Demand a local Mexican driver license. This will afford other legal rights and will go far to legitimize your unauthorized, llegal, presence in Mexico. Yes, you can get a DL in Mexico if you RESIDE there. I didn't get one because I didn't have a car.

Insist that local Mexican law enforcement teach English to all its officers. See above.

The reason this little hypothetical game is pointless is because 1) much of it is based on faulty assumptions and 2) the reason the U.S. does these things is because it is the power in a global economy, and thus attracts people. Other countries don't need to do similar things because there's not the economic push of workers into their countries. English and American culture already dominate the world, so to argue Mexicans or others would lock you up for showing American pride is ridiculous. The sheer number of Hard Rocks in Mexico alone proves that.

I really just wish that everyone spouting off about immigration would take a little time to learn a few facts instead of spewing the same, tired, faulty rhetoric.

nonimbyks 12 years ago

Ok, now that we have that worked out of your system, we can move on.

staff04 12 years ago

I work for a member of Congress who voted on this bill and actually played an important part in my boss' decisionmaking on this vote. To Dennis Moore's credit, we found a vast number of reasons both to support and to oppose the bill.

As the Senate proved by basically laughing at the House version, Dennis Moore is right. He knew that this bill would never become law.

staff04 12 years ago

consumer- do you work in immigration policy? did you read the bill? I didn't think so, so STFU.

staff04 12 years ago

and my answers are yes, and yes, about a dozen times.

dozer 12 years ago

Marion - you get deleted because you add nothing to the discussion, just your rambling thoughts.



wonderhorse 12 years ago

I hate to come to consumer's defense, but this is a public board where anyone can express his/her opinion. Much as I disagree with most of what consumer says, s/he does not have to STFU.

staff04 12 years ago

You're right. That was an angry response to the fact that many who are regulars to these boards contribute well thought out arguments or even opinions. Consumer1 does none of the above. As much as I wish consumer1 would STFU when s/he clearly knows zero about the issue at hand, s/he does not HAVE to. Freedom of speech also doesn't prevent me from suggesting that s/he do though, and I will continue to do so if I feel so compelled.

Godot 12 years ago

And thusly staff04 reveals the regard your congressman's staff has for his constituents' opinions. Makes you feel warm and fuzzy, doesn't it?

Godot 12 years ago

Actually, it might be refreshing to receive such a heartfelt response to a letter or phone call, rather than one of those form letters.

"Dear Constituent:

Shut the f*** UP!

Sincerely, Your Congressman (D-KS)"

Godot 12 years ago

Oh, and, "P.S. Send more money."

staff04 12 years ago

Godot- I don't work for Congressman Moore. I work for another member of Congress. I handle the issue for HER.

staff04 12 years ago

Consumer1- That post had more content than the last 30 of your posts combined.

staff04 12 years ago

But, if your posts are any evidence of what you "know or don't know," I'd say I have a pretty good idea...

Godot 12 years ago

Staff04, just out of curiosity, then, if you work for a congresswoman from another state, why would you bother with this board, especially since we Kansans frustrate you so?

staff04 12 years ago

Because I'm from Kansas, and even though the politics and unresearched rhetoric disturb me, I'll always be a Kansan. Think of it like the love of a parent. No matter how much you disappoint me, I still love where I was raised.

Godot 12 years ago

How sweetly condescending of you.

staff04 12 years ago

And how sweetly consistent of you...

staff04 12 years ago

J.D. Hayworth, one of the most conservative members of Congress know for being a staunch opponent to illegal immigration, voted against the House version of the bill. I guess that means that it must have been airtight, if one of the leaders on the issue voted against it.

Godot 12 years ago

There you have it, folks, your tax dollars at work. Happy tax day!

Mike Blur 12 years ago

I've read through the dreck on this forum, and once again, I ask:

When are Republicans, particularly neoconservatives, going to hold GWB accountable for this perceived problem? They are shrill in voicing their opinions, yet they voted for the guy. Ladies and gents, George W. Bush supports illegal immigration, supports amnesty for illegal immigrants, and to top it off--speaks fluent Spanish. (Ever heard him habla? He's far more coherent speaking Spanish than English.)

laughingatallofu 12 years ago

C'mon folks. Give it up. This Congress is going nowhere. On any issue. Democrat or Republican, it doesn't matter. All the little babies are concerned about is saving their own little a$$ in the next election. What's even more disappointing is that the Kansas Delegation is, for the most part, irrelevant in Congress. Welcome to Democracy!

Celeste Plitz 12 years ago

Ok, here's what I've found out, living in Az for the last 10 years. It is IMPOSSIBLE to close our borders to illegals crossing. Why? Because of the fact that Federal and State agencies won't provide FUNDS to build and maintain any sort of barrier, and won't provide FUNDS to hire more than around 20 or so people to even check on the fences that exist. That's right. New Mexico has around 40 people, Az has half of that. Maybe less because I can't remember the exact figures. Look at the sheer scope of territory that we share with Mexico. When you look at that, you can see how impossible it is to close our border completely. We can't even keep Mexican cattle out of Arizona, let alone millions of immigrants. Actually, the Mexican cattle are more of a threat to the American economy than immigrants could ever be. It is just a matter of time before Foot and Mouth disease or some other communicable disease makes it's way into American herds and causes billions of dollars worth of damage. That's pretty scary. What is even scarier? The government (Local, State and Federal) is doing NOTHING about it. Yep. Nothing. The whole Border security thing is a joke. Ranchers at the border have pretty much given up trying to keep what fencing there is in repair. They've been repairing it themselves, out of their own pockets, even though the state supposedly is responsible for it. And they don't even get restitution. I say make it easier to A)get a work visa, or pass, or whatever you call it, and B) make it easier to become a citizen. These people can be and are, in the majority of cases, productive members of our society. Their children grow up and also become productive members of our society. They contribute to our economy, and I think it would be a better idea all around if the government made it easier to become a citizen, or at least enable people to work here legally. Cause sure as heck the government can't stem the tide, so they might as well take advantage of it, and bring it under some sort of control. Homeland security? HA! All the terrorists have to do is cross the border from Mexico and they are home free. Who needs airports when you have thousands of miles of government-free zone to choose from? The Federal Government is spending a gazillion dollars on Homeland security, but the money is wasted because it's just not being spent in the right places. This isn't a Republican issue. It's not a Democrat issue either. It's an American Government issue. Both parties are so involved with their politics they can't get around to doing anything practical, or really, doing anything at all. They are completely ineffectual. They need to stop their bickering and get their @sses in gear.

staff04 12 years ago

godot- did you make a point yesterday, or did you just name call?

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