Archive for Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A federal issue

Federal inaction on illegal immigration is encouraging states to strike out in various directions to try to address this problem on their own.

December 11, 2007


There appears to be pretty broad consensus in the United States that additional steps are needed to regulate immigration, particularly illegal immigration by our neighbors to the south.

Unfortunately, there is almost no consensus on what those additional steps should be. Whatever that action is, however, it should be a federal policy that is consistent across all of the states.

Frustrated with the lack of federal action on immigration, many states are attempting to tackle the issue on their own. The result of state-by-state action is almost certain to be a mishmash of laws that is difficult to monitor and enforce.

A story in Friday's Journal-World, for instance, gave a preview of the immigration debate that could occur in the next session of the Kansas Legislature. State Sen. Brenda Landwehr, of Wichita, said she plans to introduce a package of bills on illegal immigration. The measures would impose fines and revoke licenses for businesses that knowingly employ illegal immigrants. Landwehr also would deny public health benefits to illegal immigrants except in a medical emergency and may seek to revoke a law that allows some illegal immigrant students to pay resident tuition at Kansas universities.

On the other hand, Senate President Steve Morris is urging caution on immigration legislation. Morris, who will be able to exert significant control over the progress of such legislation through the Senate, is mindful of the western Kansas constituency he represents and the labor that area needs to run meat packing and other industries. Morris said he would oppose, for instance, any measure that would punish employers who hire illegal immigrants because of the difficulty employers have in verifying someone's legal status. The same problems, it seems, also would apply to trying to verify someone's status before giving them health care.

Landwehr said her proposals are similar to new laws in Oklahoma. If Kansas doesn't match Oklahoma's effort, she said, it could see increased pressure from illegal immigrants pushed out of Oklahoma. Kansas certainly isn't the only state with legislators who fear being left behind to bear an unfair burden from illegal immigration.

The proposals outlined by a few presidential candidates include such measures as building a fence along the Mexican border, sending all illegal immigrants home before allowing some back in and various penalties for businesses with illegal employees. While there seems to be little question that the United States must do more to control its borders and existing laws must be enforced, this is an issue that should be approached with common sense and at least a little compassion for people who are seeking a better life in this country.

Whatever action is taken, immigration policy must be established by the federal government, rather than state by state.


SearchingForTruth 10 years, 5 months ago

They are not illegal immigrants, they are illegal aliens and they are breaking the law. Now, I want Morris to give me a list of laws that I can break and not be punished for. If illegal aliens can get away with crime, then I want to know what I can get away with too.

Frank Smith 10 years, 5 months ago

I live in rural Kansas. The workforce here is extremely problematic. The population is aging rapidly with people over 65 approaching 40% in some counties. What is left is not typically high quality and is not adequate to supply many industries especially agriculture, construction and oil drilling. The white population in rural Kansas is actually dropping rapidly. NAFTA and a changing economy helped to create this problem and a fence and restrictive laws won't fix it. Though there's hardly any fence that has been built, I stood alongside it in Douglas, AZ, and watched hordes of people climbing the fence. Eight Border Patrol agents standing nearby couldn't apprehend 20% of those fleeing the poverty on the other side.

marcdeveraux 10 years, 5 months ago

the only way to stop the flow of people north is to pressure the catholic church to change its stance on birth control ,big families and no resources means go north. the catholics pope needs to wake up to the fact the earth can no longer support an endless parade of new humans on this crowded planet.all other ideas are only stop gap measures.

deskboy04 10 years, 5 months ago

So people in western Kansas are mostly conservatives until it comes to an issue that hits them in the pocket book?

toefungus 10 years, 5 months ago

Illegal is illegal. I am not so concerned that the federal government is not acting. I like the idea of the people acting on their own. As a people, we have become soft and helpless wanting the government to do our work for us. Every employer must be punished for using illegals. If you are patronizing such a place, stop. If you know of such a place, place signs out for others to see.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 5 months ago

But Reagan/Bush created this problem in an effort to bust unions..... not too bright. Don't expect this Bush to take action. The virtual border fence from Boeing was corporate welfare in which the funds could have been used for a human workforce . Why not put people to work with the border patrol?

Between mass migration from the south and outsourcing what jobs will be left? White collared positions are on their way to India home of The Taliban.... Citibank may be one of the first big corporations to really get things rolling.

kansascrone 10 years, 5 months ago

Kansas legislators who take campaign contributions from meat packers (Tyson,etc.) and the Chamber of Commerce, whether they (the legislators) are from Western Kansas or East Central Kansas, will not support legislation that gets tough on employers.

These legislators will likely vote to deny healthcare and in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants to appease their constituents; who patronize Tyson as well as other corporations that make their profits on the backs of illegal immigrants.

Ruben 10 years, 5 months ago

illegal aliens ? No More like Invaders !! And Kropotkin you and your liberal buddies Are full of crap we Have an Aging PROBLEM leave it up to an Uneducated liberal we have a US Population: of 301,139,947 well over 70% Are young enough to work for the Next 20/50 years look it up and thats with only Counting Real American citizens Not the invaders and there children Most people From your Native country of Mexico are just as needy as your Failed Government

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