Archive for Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Illegal immigration debate takes center stage in governor’s race

September 26, 2006


— Illegal immigration has become the hottest issue in the governor's race, and Democratic incumbent Kathleen Sebelius argued Monday that Republican challenger Jim Barnett is misleading voters.

Sebelius said the federal government must adopt a comprehensive border security plan to stem the tide of illegal immigrants from Mexico, while the state could - and is - cracking down on businesses that knowingly hire such immigrants.

She also criticized Barnett for continuing to suggest that the state could grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, saying that issue was settled by a federal law last year.

Barnett spokesman Rodger Woods said states can make themselves less attractive to illegal immigrants and questioned Sebelius' commitment to punishing errant businesses.

In a fundraising letter earlier this month, Barnett wrote: "Under Kathleen Sebelius, a 'welcome to Kansas' sign has been hung out for illegal immigrants."

"Kathleen Sebelius has joined forces with liberals who control the media," the letter said. "Together, they are working in lockstep to create a false image of Sebelius as a moderate to conservative leader."

State's role

Barnett, a state senator from Emporia, began raising immigration as an issue during his campaign for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Melinda Lewis, policy and research director for El Centro, a Hispanic advocacy group in the Kansas City area, said she doubts the issue would be so prominent had Barnett lost the primary.

"Senator Barnett, in particular, has decided this is an issue he could use to his advantage," she said. "He's hung his hat on it."

Sebelius said she does view immigration as a serious issue and she supports efforts to heighten border security. She has embraced a proposal to build stretches of fence along the border, so that the United States can concentrate resources at a limited number of entry points.

"I think it's important that we identify and recognize what we can and can't do at the state level, what we can and should do at the federal level," Sebelius told reporters Monday. "And those lines are being intentionally, I think, blurred, not only in Kansas but around the country."

Woods acknowledged that the federal government's response "is a huge part of the equation."

In-state tuition

Barnett said last week he would seek more training for state and local law enforcement to crack down on the flow of illegal immigrants coming through Kansas.

He has been most vocal about the 2004 legislation Sebelius signed to allow some illegal immigrants to pay lower tuition rates normally reserved for legal Kansas residents at state universities, community colleges and vocational colleges.

"But individual states with their own policies, be it policies like giving driver's licenses or in-state tuition, can either do things to attract additional immigration, or they can do things to make their states less attractive," he said.

Sebelius and her staff have noted that immigrants qualify for the lower rates only if they've lived in Kansas at least three years and seek or promise to seek legal status. Last fall, 221 students took advantage of the provision.

Lewis said "harping so much" on the law would distract Kansans from taking steps that would have a meaningful effect on immigration.

Cracking down

As for the driver's license issue, Barnett has noted Sebelius' past support for the idea of allowing illegal immigrants to obtain them. However, of late, she has noted that under a 2005 federal law, the federal government plans to stop treating a driver's license as valid identification if a state issues them to illegal immigrants.

"I think that my opponents here have to get honest with the Kansas public," Sebelius said. "This debate doesn't exist."

Woods noted that last month, California's Legislature approved a proposal to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, despite the federal law and opposition from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Finally, there is the issue of cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants. Bob Beatty, a Washburn University political science professor, said for years, policymakers around the nation have shown little enthusiasm for the idea.

"It was never worth it to buck corporate America, by taking away their flow of cheap labor, and consumer America, by making their prices go up," Beatty said.

This year, legislators took a step, enacting a law to penalize businesses that deliberately misclassify employees as independent contractors, avoiding tax and legal requirements. Enforcement began in July.

"We have employers - no doubt at all - in Kansas and around this country who are intentionally hiring illegal workers and exploiting them - and exploiting the system," Sebelius said.

But Woods said Sebelius could have done more, sooner.

"This isn't an issue that she's had any leadership on in the last three years," Woods said.


BigDog 11 years, 7 months ago

Posted by fletch (anonymous) on September 26, 2006 at 8:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"I guess if you're polling 20 points behind, you have to start making stuff up to get some attention."

Can you tell me what stuff is being made up? Sources??

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago

Check it out. Racism is NOT a one way proposition. THis site has the statments from LaRaza and others that the news media filters out. Hence the need for the site.

You are right Moria, some of those pro illegals supporters are racists.

lacoov 11 years, 7 months ago

I have worked for immigration and can't begin to tell you all how many times I've heard " it was inconvenient for me to go to my appointment to": get my green card to work legally,become a permanent resident,US citizen,bring my family over here legally, etc.,etc.It's a game and those of you who expect fair play are so naive and as US taxpayers we will all just keep paying and paying.

Sacerdotal 11 years, 7 months ago

Kansas: Home of the legal immigrant, and the $10 Big Mac.

monkeyhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Canada has an interesting system. Businesses provide the Canadian government a list of temporary employment needs. The government then requests the workers from Mexico. The workers receive a six month visa, taxes are taken out of their pay, and at the end of the visa they are given a ticket back home and are required to return to Mexico.

Canada provides no driver's licenses, no breaks on tuition, no instant citizenship to children born in their country.

Todd 11 years, 7 months ago

Many people, myself included, feel that Kansas really needs an influx of people. As we speak anti-illegal-immigrant forces in Kansas aren't trying to raise the birthrate of get US citizens from other states to move here. My only conclusion is that anti-illegal-immigrant folks don't think we need to increase the population growth rate in KS.

Well, I think we need some serious fresh blood in this state now. I support in-state tuition for ANYONE that graduates from a KS high school and gets into college. Looks like I'll be crossing party lines in the fall election for Governor to boot.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago

Here is one of the reasons to stop it. 80% or so of the births in S. Texas are all from illegals, who are charged for birthing in Mexico, but get it free here. The woman in the cover of this story had 6 this way so far.

This is the other reason. These people are used, and put in a meat grinder. The reason they are in high demand, is because the corporations and employers can treat them this way. If they treated them as they are legally required to would be cheaper to hire a resident.

Look at the death rate...that is only the REPORTED rate. The occupational injury rate is 30% higher, and that has a high non-report as well.

We are hiring illegals to get around the safety, and health laws for employers, and drive down wages.

It is just that simple.

oldgoof 11 years, 7 months ago

article: "Kathleen Sebelius has joined forces with liberals who control the media," . Guess that means Sebelius is in bed with that well-known liberal Dolph.
. HA! ....I want some of Dr. Barnett's funny pills. .

KS 11 years, 7 months ago

She doesn't want to debate this part because she would lose. Signing the tuition bill just shows you where she is on this.

DaREEKKU 11 years, 7 months ago

So what are we supposed to do with illegals seeking legal status, not let them drive/work/or go to school? Oh, and lets not forget how they take such sought after jobs like dishwashing, lawn care, and chopping meat at sub zero temperatures. Barnett and others like him are idiots.

Confrontation 11 years, 7 months ago

I know someone who worked at a McD's in the KC area until they announced that they would be doing an immigration status check. So, he transferred to a McD's here in Lawrence. Problem solved. He's not Mexican, by the way, and he was on a student visa (these visa's only allow him to work at jobs on KU's campus). Most of these individuals get some person to print them new copies of their social security cards without "not eligible for work" printed on them. These people are well known amongst the new illegal and legal immigrants. Employers don't care to check on it, and they are never held accountable.

fletch 11 years, 7 months ago

I guess if you're polling 20 points behind, you have to start making stuff up to get some attention.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago

The illegals do not just come here for work, it is also for the FREE medical they recieve. The Mexican government needs to be billed. City and County of Dallaw have started sending MExico bills for Medical.

It cost $1000 to birth in Mexico, and women must pay UP FRONT, however they cross the border...TA DA....its FREE to them...we have to pay. It is the medical they are coming for. And Anchor Babies.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago

"So what are we supposed to do with illegals seeking legal status,..."

Well MOST of the illegals cannot "seek legal status" as they entered the US illegally. Only those with valid visas, and waviers of visas can enter the country for extended time. They have to fill out the paperwork and wait....just like ALL THE LEGAL IMMIGRANTS DO.

THE LEGAL IMMIGRANTS are quite welcome, the rest gotta go, and we need to start penalizing those that entice illegal immigration and illegal immigrants.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago

If you know illegal employment of illegal aliens you can turn them in:

Report Suspicious Activity: 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 1-866-347-2423

It appears to me that Tyson in Emporia is exactly looking for an ICE raid. So dos McD's.

The law is the law.

It is to protect our US citizens from wage erosion, and to protect those illegals who are coming here from being exploited.

To endorse illegal immigration is to endorse:

Loosening of Safety laws. loosening of Health laws loosening of Environmental laws loosing of employment laws loosing of banking and ownership laws

in short:

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION erodes ALL American laws.

KsTwister 11 years, 7 months ago

Both candidates need to address how illegals have been know to deplete State coffers with their use of healthcare and education because those costs are transferred to the taxpayers who will not get free ride illegals have. It is about time. Several States have experienced budget shortfalls because of it, I hope Kansas will not join the list. My sympathy is with hopefull immigrants who are trying legally to be Americans and seemingly being stuck at the back of the line no matter how educated and desireable they might be.

fletch 11 years, 7 months ago

I always find it funny when people pull out the "i support immigrants who are trying to go about things the right way" line and then turn around and go after the students using the tuition law. Those are exactly the types of immigrants we want. They know their parents made a mistake and want to help correct it by becoming full citizens, educating themselves, and eventually getting a college degree. But, uh oh, that's a nuanced view of the world and doesn't fit into many or your black and white (or in this case brown and white) worldviews.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago

"Black and Hispanic Americans are the very ones adversely affected by illegal immigration, as much of this population is among our poorest."

And BOTH parties elites in the Senate want to "dispose" of this section of the vote, infavor to garner more support from the "legalized illegals"

I think that is a disasterous model for both parties. There are a hell of a lot more of legal American Hispanics and Black Americans that DO and WILL vote that the perceived gain from "legalizing" 11-20 million people in order to get them to vote for your party. Probably because many of them will not vote.


"Where is your compassion for THEM?"

Yes, where is the compassion for the poor of America? Both parties talk a game on this, but will sell them down the river for perceived gain. Those folks whom are American CItizens need to be treated much better than an ILLEGAL from another country, whom will send that money out of the country.

Americans with money make America better.


" It is they who are forced to compete for low skilled jobs, affordable housing, and social services with people who are not supposed to be here to begin with."

And those services are getting harder to get in leaner budget times, and Americans are loosing their benefits to illegal aliens. MUCH of the Medicaid is also going to illegals instead of poor Americans.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago

And don't forget how our employers are treating these illegals workers that "they need so much".

"They do work Americans won't do". The article points out WHY Americans will not do the work the illegals are doing, because it is UNSAFE.

NO American in their right mind would allow themselves to be put in that situation in an employment situation.



This just really burns my butt!!!

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago


The employers are employing them because they are not paying enough in workmans comp. and the safety of the jobs are suspect.

This is why we have employee safety regulations. The companies that are hiring illegals ae doing so to ignore safety regulations.

That is why the get hurt. That is why they are getting killed.

The solution is to stop the employers for having unsafe worksites, report all employment injuries as per federal law, and enforce the regulations. Then there is no reason to hire illegals.

That is why they are cheaper (illegals), they are "disposible".

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago

STOP giving to Public Broadcasting and boycott them.

This month they are running Pro Illegal ALien shows that are just rediculous.

they are:

"Letters from the other side" Immigration effects four Mexican women and their children,

"Independent Lens: Maid in America",

"Mexican Americans".

Don't let the titles fool you, these are NOT about LEGAL IMMIGRANTS, and ARE not about "AMericans of Hispanic of Latino descent.

It is Illegal Immigration Propaganda.

Please let your Seantors (Federal and State) and Representative know.

THIS is not what a public funded broadcasting network should be showing.

Educational is one thing, this is purely political.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.