Archive for Thursday, December 30, 2010

Kansas likely to join ranks of states implementing stringent new immigration regulations

December 30, 2010


— Kansas legislators expect next year to join the growing list of states trying to keep illegal immigrants out and to discourage businesses from hiring them. One of the top legal minds in that movement is about to take office as Kansas' secretary of state, and he said he's ready to advise lawmakers.

But strong opposition is expected from the state's business community, particularly the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. Gov.-elect Sam Brownback also is cool to sweeping immigration proposals, preferring to focus on the state's budget woes and creating jobs.

The chamber's resistance creates an odd political dynamic in a Republican-leaning state with large GOP majorities in its Legislature and, soon, no Democrats in statewide elective office. Some legislators advocating the low-tax, small-government agenda favored by the chamber will be fighting the state's largest business group on immigration.

So far, the state chamber has prevailed. But advocates of get-tough measures like those instituted in Arizona believe they're tapping into national frustration with federal inaction and expect pressure to build on the Legislature after it opens its annual session and Brownback is sworn in Jan. 10.

"A few interest groups who are plugged into the legislative process can derail something," said Secretary of State-elect Kris Kobach, a law professor on leave who's gained national attention for working on immigration issues with legislators in other states. "But ultimately, I think you find that, in end, if the people of a state really want a statute, it eventually happens."

The Kansas Chamber has focused its opposition on proposals requiring employers to verify that workers are in the U.S. legally and fining companies or taking away their licenses if they hire illegal immigrants.

Chamber officials argue those laws can impose draconian punishments for unintentional mistakes. Kent Beisner, the Kansas Chamber's president and chief executive officer, also said if Kansas enacts rules and other states don't, Kansas will find it harder to attract and keep businesses.

"We want to be as competitive as we can be," Beisner said.

Many legislators saw the chamber as a big reason why Kansas' last attempt to enact a sweeping immigration law that included penalties for employers failed in 2008. The House and Senate were negotiating a final version but couldn't agree.

"There were at least a number of business interests that simply did not want to see any meaningful immigration reform bill that dealt with the employment issue," said state Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican who helped lead the push in 2008.

The nonprofit, Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 65,000 immigrants in Kansas were among the 11.1 million in the U.S. illegally in 2009. The center also estimates that 50,000 Kansas workers, about 3 percent of the total, are illegal immigrants. It says the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. has dropped in the past few years.

State legislators nationwide have grown less willing to wait on the federal government to address the issue. The National Conference of State Legislatures said that in the first half of 2010, state lawmakers considered almost 1,400 immigration proposals — four times as many as five years ago.

Kobach helped write this year's law in Arizona empowering police to question anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally, a policy some Kansas lawmakers hope to enact in their state. He also was involved in drafting a 2008 Missouri law that penalizes businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

Kinzer said he and other legislators are interested in not only those measures, but also repealing a state law that gives some illegal immigrants a break on tuition at state universities and colleges. And Kobach campaigned successfully on a promise that he'll seek a law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls and proof of citizenship when they register to vote for the first time in a new place.

Groups providing services and advocating for immigrants worry about how such proposals would hurt families with some members in the U.S. legally and others illegally. They argue legislators would do better to provide immigrants with help in gaining citizenship.

"We have short-term memories about the contributions of immigrants to this country," said Mary Lou Jaramillo, president and CEO of El Centro Inc., a Kansas City, Kan.-based social service and advocacy group.

Brownback has endorsed Kobach's voter ID and proof-of-citizenship. But he said other immigration measures adopted elsewhere are still being challenged in court.

"I don't think we should be going at it — going at those areas that are in the middle of litigation," he said during a recent interview

Meanwhile, the chamber's resistance is important because it's a major player in state politics. The chamber and its political action committee have reported spending more than $1.1 million on lobbying and campaign-related activities in the past six years.

One vice president and lobbyist, Jeff Glendening, is a former member of the state House majority leader's staff. A former lobbyist, Rachelle Colombo, left the House majority leader's staff to join the chamber and then earlier this month became chief of staff to House Speaker Mike O'Neal, a Hutchinson Republican.

And, of course, lawmakers have listened to its arguments in the past.

"Immigration should be resolved at the federal level," Beisner said. "It hasn't been addressed there, and I think that's where it needs to be addressed."


booklover2 7 years, 3 months ago

"Top legal mind".....Kobach? Don't know about that.....

Jimo 7 years, 3 months ago

"One of the top legal minds in that movement is about to take office as Kansas' secretary of state...."

Well ... after Phill Kline! (And no one knows more about cattle fencing laws than Sam Brownback.)

Seriously, Kobach has a cottage industry in crafting losing anti-immigrant lawsuits. The word is "losing" as in his bizarre legal theories failing again and again and again in court. He is to immigration what Glenn Back is to overpriced gold.

Jon Stewart proved long ago, you don't have to be a comic genius. You just have to open the newspaper and read what an "unsigned" AP author unilaterally endorses to be a "top legal mind."

Kansans should feel blessed to have lured such a mind away from the nation's top law firms and law schools to runs the state's corporation registration system and oversee the election ballot printer!!

Scott Morgan 7 years, 3 months ago

Kobach is nationally known as an expert in immigration law. The Arizona law he helped craft fits well under our Constitution. Sorry, but these are facts.

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

Except that immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility, not a state one.

William Weissbeck 7 years, 3 months ago

Kansas, like much of the Great Plains, needs all the population it can get. If anything, the state should be putting ads in foreign papers, like the railroads did at the end of the 19th Cent., inviting as many who want, to come here and work.

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

The reason why Kansas became populated..... immigrants.... lots of them.... if you drive across Kansas, you'll see "Vikings", "Czech".... where do these people come from in the first place? Well, yes, legally from Europe and many Northern Europe. If you start examining how easy their immigration was.... just sail on a ship, and get through a port and they would give you immigration paper immediately.... it was very similar to how the Mexicans walked over today, just that there is now no immigration post to issue them immigration papers. Now, you have to go through tonnes of immigration papers, first, you have to have the right qualifications in order to get jobs, and your employers will have to sponsor you.... second, you can try to find someone who want to marry you... third, you have $1 million to invest in this country. If you have three of the above.... you'll not move to rural Kansas. This is a fact and a reality. You can understand all the immigration laws you want... they're all drafted by men. Understanding a law and remaking one to make sure you can sustain the growth of Kansas are two different things.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

Ahh, the latest distraction from the Big Thinkers of the Right.

While Kobach, et al, are busy with their sleights of hand fixing yet another thing that ain't really broken, the Koch brothers will be making out like bandits (again,) at the expense of the vast majority of teabaggers, and they still won't get it.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 3 months ago

The comment pre-removed for using a vulgar sexual term to refer to someone on the sinister side of the aisle.

Scott Morgan 7 years, 3 months ago

The real world came down on the democratic party like a hammer in November.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

"...the Koch brothers will be making out like bandits..." I certainly hope that your prediction is right on. That is why some people go to work instead of expound worthless opinions on a menial website all day.

BTW, did you get orders from above to dwell incessantly on the Kochs for some reason? That crp is really tired and you are starting to sound pathetic (more so than usual).

Scott Morgan 7 years, 3 months ago

Thinking logically, wouldn't the Koch Corporation want illegal workers? Do you know what Koch Industries is?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

Bust the employers. If it were not for them immigrants would not be anywhere "illegally".

WE don't need new laws. Thousands get deported as it is according to radio news this AM.

Instead of political rhetoric bust the employers. IF employers ignore existing laws what good will new laws do..... it's nonsense.

b22 7 years, 3 months ago

agree completely, the root of the problem is the employers...without jobs the people will disappear

deec 7 years, 3 months ago

There is no political will to solve the immigration issue. Our entire food industry relies on immigrants, legal and illegal, to boost profits. As of several years ago, and possibly today, the meat industry actively recruits in rural Mexico for workers to come here and staff the meat factories.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

And that, deec, is why people won't get it when the can no longer get fresh produce out of season in KS anymore, unless they want to drive to FL, CA, TX to pick their own. Ditto for New England and states in the Great Lakes region in the summer time.

Most of our citizens have decided the menial jobs are beneath them.

deec 7 years, 3 months ago

The price of meat will surely go up as well, since in the era before illegal immigrants were used, at least some meat factories were unionized, with much higher wages. Now, not so much.

PalinPalms 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm so proud of kicking those Washington insiders and eleitiests lawers out of DC

Carol Bowen 7 years, 3 months ago

One of those insiders is our new governor.

tolawdjk 7 years, 3 months ago

With the exception of New York, those are also states that had very large housing bubbles burst during the current economic slump. And New York has the distinct priviledge of containing Wall Street. So, unless you have some kind of hard data showing a direct correlation to the "economic slump" and the population of illegal immigrants.

Silly me, I think geography with Mexico plays a fairly large roll in those three states illegal population problem.

Carol Bowen 7 years, 3 months ago

How does this justify the need to discourage illegal immigration in Kansas?

bearded_gnome 7 years, 3 months ago

oh, the number is thought to be shrinking of illegals who are working? you mean even this liberal and pro-open borders center (the hispanic center) is admitting that these people self-deport?
what a concept? let's encourage more of that!
and halting illegal immigration does improve wages and employment for legal immigrants, and low educational attainment nonimmigrant americans.
thus, this does actually help jobs. that is jobs for those who are supposed to be here.

do we even want a "path to citizenship" for people who knowingly broke the law and broke into our country?

monkeyhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

b_g - I have the feeling that the days of anything goes as far as entitlements, illegals border crashing, wild spending sprees and especially political correctness will soon be toast. The "wussies" are being replaced by real men and real women who have the honestly and courage to enforce real change - and/or at the very least enforce existing laws.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 3 months ago

And it don't make no diffurnce if there's loss of lives. That's juss collateral damage. We're men! We're manly men!

Best idea to date is up above; sanction and punish those businesses that employ them. But see that would mean that even the Koch brothers would have their butts on the line. Ain't happenin'.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

"But see that would mean that even the Koch brothers would have their butts on the line."

Slander much? You should be a bit more thoughtful.

"Best idea to date is up above; sanction and punish those businesses that employ them."

Duh, hardly an idea - it is more like an existing law.

xclusive85 7 years, 3 months ago

"Slander much? You should be a bit more thoughtful."

It's written, so it is not slander, it's libel!

monkeyhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

thx, I stand corrected. Not good either way.

Scott Morgan 7 years, 3 months ago

Least we do forget, there are some bad boys coming across the borders who do not wish to mow lawns and clean pools.

lostinphnx 7 years, 3 months ago

Being from Phoenix and living there now for almost a 1/4 Century let me tell you how much it has hurt our economy to have Illegal aliens Mostly Mexicans working and living in our state has done. 1. The amount of health care that is given to them free is in the billions of dollars per year. 2. The amount of drugs brought into our state is in the billions of dollars per year. 3. The jobs these people work takes away jobs from citizens. 4. The employers that hire these people save hundreds of millions of dollars p0er year not paying taxes. 5. The amount of stolen i.d.'s that are stolen each year amounts into the millions of lost benefits and heartaches from the people that they were stolen from. 6. The employment that these people take away and not paying taxes is in the billions of dollars each year. 7. Free education to the illegals is now a big issue, it costs hundreds of millions of dollars a year to send them to school with no payback to society. 8. Crime drugs gangs and most of all welfare benefits Medicaid and social services cost the legal taxpayers billions of dollars each year and it it growing. 9. the bleeding heart liberals need to wake up or join the illegals and move out of this country they mooch off of the system and never give anything back. 10. Last and most important is the employers hiring these illegals, they get an unfair advantage over the employers that do not hire, its slave labor,they condone the illegal activities of the illegals,they are bankrupting the entire system only so the can hire someone cheap, they do not care about you or me its corporate america they only care about the bottom line and they could care less about who they hurt. Last we citizens here in Arizona have taken a different approach lately we only vote for people that enforce illegal immigrant laws, we boycott restaurants, and employers that hire illegals, and last we do not tolerate anymore the liberals that condone this behavior we Americans are taking back our country one square foot at a time. And to add to this we elect our sheriffs like Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County Phoenix to support the laws and arrest the illegals and shut down the employers that openly hire them. Yes Lawrence Kansas you need better leadership then what you have now you need politicians that have the guts to stand up against the law breakers no matter what race they are and deport them all. Good luck and Happy new year from Arizona.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 3 months ago

Kansas Chamber of Commerce members would seem to be a good first place Kansans should focus their attention.

Do you support the Chamber's agenda?

The post above has done a nice job of summarizing the harm done by these traitorous entities. Will you support this agenda?

deec 7 years, 3 months ago

Care to cite any government or other legitimate sources for your claims?

Boosh 7 years, 3 months ago

"and last we do not tolerate anymore the liberals that condone this behavior"

The thing is, this does not make sense.

Your #10 "Last and most important " would be directed someone other than liberals.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

So, I take it Arizonans will no longer buy homes which were built by Mexican labor, will not buy food picked by Mexican labor, will not play golf at a course that has been maintained by a Mexican laborer. I could go on and on, but please do not lecture us, when the problem lies in your own backyard. You need to be addressing this to all the builders and all the real estate agents and everyone else who hires illegals for cheap labor.

To bad the best tortilla place in Phoenix for decades had to close because the workers were afraid to show up.

How did Joe's tent city patrons fair last night? It's going to be even colder tonight.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 3 months ago

"Immigration should be resolved at the federal level," Beisner said. "It hasn't been addressed there, and I think that's where it needs to be addressed."

Because we've all seen how effectively the US Senate has been at addressing people's concerns.

Translation: We're perfectly OK paying slave wages, don't give a tinker's damn about American citizens and will do anything, no matter how immoral to make a buck.

Robert Marble 7 years, 3 months ago much as possible should be done to discourage illegal immigration. if they want to be here they should go through the legal process to do it like millions of others have proudly done in the past. otherwise, treat 'em like the criminals they let the libtards whine about that

Ernest Barteldes 7 years, 3 months ago

So Kansas wants to be Arizona... Just another reason to mock the Sunflower state... Hey, Kansas legislators: Study some history: California did that years ago and they were beat in the courts. How about waiting to see how Arizona fares in the Supreme Court?

Scott Morgan 7 years, 3 months ago

Why don't we simply enforce the laws we currently have?

Food for thought. What if Lawrence Memorial Hospital was faced like medical facilities in CA and AZ of treating not one or two, but hundreds of illegal non paying patients? How would this effect our local standard of living. These patients including newborns are not tossed in the street, aftercare is administered as well. Sound expensive?

Hint, many fine small town hospitals in these states simply went out of business. So long American Dream.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"Hint, many fine small town hospitals in these states simply went out of business. So long American Dream."

That's true of small-town hospitals throughout the country, and it has nothing to do with immigrants.

While there is some taxpayer expense in treating undocumented workers, by and large, these people mostly go without medical care, just like most other people in this country with no insurance.

As with most everything else in this issue, the costs to treat illegal immigrants is greatly exaggerated. But exaggeration is what's required to whip up hysteria for political effect.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"the expense associated with illegal immigration go unreported."

Well that makes it easy, doesn't it? No need to document your claims, because it's top secret. Very convincing.

Scott Morgan 7 years, 3 months ago

seeker, I've never watched Beck, or ? druggie links. I like to be well informed. Here is a link, would the NY Times be A-OK. Google.... Hospital crisis ER California and you will get a good eye opener.

I do not count feds using my money to bail out hospitals treating illegals as making it.

jessanddaron 7 years, 3 months ago

This is a joke, go somewhere with a real immigration "problem". This is more "bandwagon" the GOP can jump on. There are more illegal immigrants in a 2 square block radius in Texas or California than anywhere I have been in Kansas. I'm not the census bureau but that is my 3 year experience living in the state thus far.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

And why are there so many "illegals" out there working at the meat packing plant? Because no one with even a high school diploma wants to do that kind of work anymore and live out in the middle of nowhere; in other words, no one else will do it! If we get rid of all the illegal immigrants who currently do the jobs the rest of us don't want to do, who will?. Will we have to go to forced labor, such as using inmates? We can't do that as it's cost prohibitive. Everyone claims the illegals have taken American jobs. They only took the jobs Americans don't want. As for the reason being they work for less, I don't think they would have gotten a foothold if builders and subcontractors hadn't been able to find anyone else to do the menial labor jobs.

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

BornAgainAmerican: You probably born again and forgotten all your history lessons or you learned history the twisted way. How did America becomes a white nation? Nope, not those who came here to prosecuted the Native Indians. Yes, they came here after the days of persecution, and they came in masses.... in the millions. They were lowly paid and also not as skilled. They were not liked by the locals back then, and sure, I think the feeling against immigrants is understandable but not justifiable. Their immigration was way much easier than today... you could literally walk up the shores and claim you landed and then you're allowed to work LEGALLY. Yes... that was legal immigration. If this is the same today, a Mexican can simply walk across the border and then there'll be a post waiting to issue him/her legal paperwork. But there ain't such facility today.... sure, immigration needs control.... remember how big a deal was the first Catholic president? Remember how new immigrant Italians were despised? Remember the Chinese exclusion act in California? I'm not trying to instigate anyone, but one should have a clear knowledge of history before you can make good decision.

A tougher border control is definitely needed. Penalties against employers are also needed. However, we have to address the huge demand for cheap labors. If you don't, you'll simply kill off all the agriculture industries in this countries since everyone wants cheap food... and it's cheaper to outsource and import. Why IT outsourcing becomes an epidemic? Pay and supply! Simple as that..... if you cannot get enough people to work for you... what do you do? Outsource....

Making the issue an illegal immigrant issue will not solve our problem. It's the corporate lobby, those who are backing the Republican Party, that wants those illegal immigrants. They will buy out the Democratic Party if they need to. They go unpunished... and people like yourself staunchly support them by refusing to see the real issue behind the agenda. It's not the illegal immigrants that we should target... it's the big corporations. We can send billions of dollars to strengthen our borders.... so what? We don't have the systems to take care of the leaks!

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

BornAgainAmerican: Really? Well, you get paid $10 to work at Walmart and stay in a big city, you need to pay much much more than $10 to get someone to abandon the city in order to stay in those places and work in those conditions.

Learn from history: Omaha used to be the top meat packing destination... and who used to do the work? Americans? Nope. Immigrants. They just weren't Mexicans back then. They were Eastern Europeans. Now? You get them from Mexico.... what's the difference? Not much. So do Mexicans walked across illegally? Yes... but how do those Eastern Europeans get their "work permits"? Easy.... they took a boat and arrive in NYC, and they were given immediate passes to work in this country. But laws have changed.

Our appetite has not. We want cheap food. We don't want to pay more..... how do you eliminate illegal immigration? Simple. Buy from local farmers... that you conservatives are so much again!

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

BornAgainAmerican: Nothing in your posting clearly show that early meat packing industry employed mainly immigrant workers. In fact, listen to the PBS program in detail... not selectively. You only read the last sentence on the Latinos.,_Nebraska

Read citation No. 23:

Historic Prospect Hill - Omaha's Pioneer Cemetery. Nebraska Department of Education. Retrieved 7/7/07.

Even without citation, everyone who lives in Omaha know about earlier European immigrants dominating the meat packing industries.

Read not just your selective article... READ THE WHOLE HISTORY DUDE!

Scott Morgan 7 years, 3 months ago

Sigh, oh my.

Every year when making our journey to the desert we spend a couple of nights in Liberal Kansas. Not Paris mind you, but not what movie makers paint a picture of either.

We stay in a fine place with pool and a pit BBQ on site. Had live music on weekends too. The price per stay was less than we paid to see True Grit with snacks last week.

Liberal looked cool to me. . For a young person or couple who wish to really work a good life can be had. Affordable homes, good schools, some degree of nightlife, great minor league baseball, a place to call home. Last time through Liberal had job opportunity too. Not just meatpacking either.

Last time through heard not a soul mention how they wish to be in Lawrence.

If our economy keeps spiraling downward people will flock to our Liberals, Great Bend (has BMW/Mercedes dealer), Salina, and many many other fine Western towns and small cities.

Kansas is a fine state, get out and see it sometime.

melott 7 years, 3 months ago

I am glad that the effort proposed for Kansas includes penalties on employers. That has been sadly missing from many efforts. I never heard about it being part of the Arizona effort. The only way we will stop the flood across our borders is to penalize employers enough for hiring illegals that it is no longer worthwhile for them. Then they will have to raise wages enough that legal Americans want the jobs. This means our prices will go up. Are you all ready to pay more? I am. But it will mean higher prices, which will be a hardship. Just a dose of reality. I support doing this.

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