Archive for Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kansas Business Coalition opposing immigration legislation

March 2, 2011, 3:01 p.m. Updated March 2, 2011, 7:23 p.m.

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— A coalition of Kansas business groups launched a campaign Wednesday against immigration proposals it argues are burdensome to companies and local governments, including a plan similar to one enacted in Arizona requiring law enforcement officers to check the citizenship status of suspected illegal immigrants.

The Kansas Business Coalition used a forum on immigration issues to highlight what it sees as the problems in the state pursuing immigration policy, with several dozen legislators attending. The coalition includes the state’s major agribusiness groups, such as the Kansas Farm Bureau and Livestock Association; trade associations for contractors and restaurant operators, and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan.

They oppose a bill to require state agencies and contractors to make a good-faith effort to check the legal status of their employees, using the federal E-Verify program. It also contains a provision similar to the Arizona law, requiring law enforcement officers to check the citizenship or immigration status of someone stopped for another reason if officers have a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the U.S. illegally.

Kathleen Campbell Walker, an El Paso, Texas, immigration attorney, said such laws are more complicated to enforce and burdensome for businesses than usually advertised. She and Mike Taylor, a lobbyist for the Unified Government, also said they will open cities and counties to lawsuits and new costs that states can’t afford to cover.

“If you’ve got unlimited resources, and you want to make a statement on federal law enforcement then go for it, but I can’t imagine that makes much sense for limited state dollars,” Walker said after the forum. “It involves a lot of cost and a lot of implementation thought, and unfortunately people don’t have the patience to listen to the minutia that is immigration law.”

The immigration proposals are being pushed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican who is among the Legislature’s most influential conservative members. He had help in drafting it from a fellow Republican, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Kansas City-area law professor on leave who helped draft the law Arizona enacted last year.

The House Federal and State Affairs Committee plans to have a hearing on Kinzer’s legislation within a few weeks. Kinzer did not attend Wednesday’s forum but said he’s not surprised by the business coalition’s opposition, having encountered similar resistance in the past.

“Those who don’t want us to see us take on the immigration issue for whatever reason are always going to come with excuses with respect to why it can’t be done,” Kinzer said.

Kinzer’s legislation already has faced sharp criticism because opponents believe the provision similar to Arizona’s law would lead to racial profiling in policing. He and Kobach have said that’s not the case, because the legislation specifically says the reasons for checking someone’s immigration or citizenship status can’t be tied to their race or ethnicity.

The forum largely steered clear of that argument — though Walker noted some Arizona’s officials concerns about lost convention business because of the controversy surrounding that state’s law. Walker said law enforcement officials will need extensive training just to be able to sort through different kinds of immigration documents.

She also said such a law is likely to increase the distrust of law enforcement agencies, so that people will be less likely to report crime to them.

Taylor said local governments likely face big costs in training their personnel and transporting and holding people they identify as potentially being in the country illegally. The E-Verify provisions also would increase local governments’ costs and subject them to lawsuits if they wrongly exclude companies from bidding for contracts, he said.

“We’re going to be caught in a very big bind,” Taylor said. “We can’t afford it. We don’t have the staff to be able to administer the law the way it’s proposed, and it would be totally unworkable.”

But Kinzer chalked such arguments up to critics’ political opposition to stricter immigration enforcement. He acknowledged legislators should consider the logistics involved in enforcing laws such as the ones he’s proposing, but, “It doesn’t create an argument for simply turning a blind eye to illegal activity.”

Comments

Catalano 4 years, 1 month ago

"It also contains a provision that, like Arizona’s law, would require local law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of some people they stop."

Welcome to Kansas...as bigoted as you think.

Fred Mertz 4 years, 1 month ago

Why is it bigoted to stop illegal activity? Is it bigoted to stop bank robberies? Is it bigoted to stop rape or murder? If not, then why is it bigoted to stop illegal immigrants from coming to and remaining in this country? Please explain.

Fred Mertz 4 years, 1 month ago

I don't have a problem with stiff penalties for businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. In fact, I hold them to a higher standard than the illegal immigrant.

I also don't have a problem with creating a guest worker program.

I do have a problem with criminals.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

That's a big problem, if you're serious.

Kind of an "ends justify the means" idea, without any regard for fundamental rights, protection from an invasive government, etc.

bd 4 years, 1 month ago

What part of illegal do you not understand! If I break our laws I suffer the consequences???

Legal Kansas law abiding citizen.

Alia Ahmed 4 years, 1 month ago

I think the concern is whether anyone with brown skin and a Hispanic name may be pulled over or ask to show their identity which would unfairly target persons of Hispanic descent who are citizens and whose families have lived in this country for generations. I don't want us to be a country where we have to "show our papers". Obviously people do show their papers or passports at international airports and border crossings as they should, but people should not be asked to prove their right to be in this country unless there is probable cause to believe they have entered illegally (and skin color and surname should not be acceptable probable cause).

Fred Mertz 4 years, 1 month ago

Right and the law will prohibit racial profiling. Can it be abused? Of course, all laws are abused by a small percentage of LEOs that do not desrve to be an LEO, but that is not a reason to not have a law.

The police will pull over someone for some driving violation and ask for ID - standard procedure and doesn't matter what color you are they will ask for ID. No ID, don't speak English and nervous then yes, your immigration status might be checked. What is wrong with that.

The law, if the same as the AZ law, requires stops any inquiry into legal status if an ID is presented - not papers, just a drivers license.

Catalano 4 years, 1 month ago

Thanks, Logan. At least you got it.

'REQUIRE local law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of SOME people they stop."

Sorry, but in my book, THAT part of the proposed law is bigoted.

Fred Mertz 4 years, 1 month ago

And police only perform sobriety tests on some drivers they stop. Is that bigoted too? Perhaps the law would be bigoted if it was based on stopping people of a certain color, but that is not the case.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

Yep.

That's a bizarre law for sure, since many illegal immigrants work in those jobs.

voevoda 4 years, 1 month ago

If businesses had to make a serious effort to employ only citizens and legal residents, and pay them all on the books, the following would happen: 1. Fewer illegal immigrants would come, because they would no longer have an economic incentive. Those already here would have a strong incentive to apply for legalization. There would be fewer illegal immigrants to be arrested, and the taxpayers wouldn't need to expend the huge amount of money to incarcerate them indefinitely--which is what would ensue from an Arizona-style law. 2. Workers would all be paid on the books, and so they would need to pay income taxes on their earnings, increasing state (and federal) revenues. 3. Labor costs would go up. Consequently, the cost of the products would go up, raising the cost of living. Corporate profits would go down, so the megarich wouldn't continue to get richer at as fast a rate. Tax revenues from corporate taxes would decline a little, but the lost tax income would be counterbalanced by increased tax income from employees. Overall, a law cracking down on the employers of illegal immigrants would go a lot farther towards solving the problem at a much lower cost than the proposed Arizona-style legislation. And it would clearly be constitutional!

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 1 month ago

Even with this group of businesses making it clear where the "illegal" in illegal immigration is, you still have comments going after the immigrants.

How sad it is that so many believe these people are coming to the US for public schools, food stamps, and health care. Take all that away, and these immigrants would keep coming.

Stop focusing on the immigrants and start focusing on the problem.

jaketh 4 years, 1 month ago

If all migrants were to de deported, our economy would crash. Just like cheap imports from China is keeping costs of good bought at Wal Mart affordable. Similarly, affordable labor by migrants are keeping services like maids, nannies, yard work, construction, food & meat production are keeping prices down. Wake up & smell the coffee. Its a free market priniciple. Where there is demand, there is supply. We, Americans do not want to do menial & hard back breaking dirty work, so migrants will fill in. Its a basic economic principle. Very simple. If it takes $16+/hour in wages for us, Americans to be enticed to do those very menial jobs like some European countries, then the cost of production would go up. That means inflation will go up. A Big Mac Meal Deal will cost $12+. Even if your wages were higher, your cost of living would go up. In essence, the savings would be about the same. Nil. Imagine that.

Migrants & immigrants are not the problem here. It is us, lazy Americans who won't or can't do the menial jobs. Our prosperity has made us lethargic. It is easy to blame migrants during an economic crisis, but, NOBODY was yelling to throw them out during the boom of the late 90s. Oh hell, we needed them to wash our dishes, watch our kids, make our beds, mow our yard, build our roads & houses, cut our meat, pick our vegetables. But, now we need a SCAPEGOAT for our own inadequacies. They are an easy target to blame for all the problems rather than oursleves. Its time for introspection. We need to learn from the migrants--hard work (even 2-3 jobs at minimum wages), support their families & try to have a better life. What do we do? Complain, complain, complain....

jhawkinsf 4 years, 1 month ago

"If all migrants were deported" Are you making a distinction between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants? In the mind of many, myself included, that distinction makes a huge difference.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

You're right about the math.

But then, we'd have lower unemployment as well. And, if costs rose as wages did, people could still buy stuff.

So it would be about the same, except that instead of having massive numbers of illegal immigrants here, and 9% unemployment (the actual number is probably about twice that), we'd have more American citizens employed and lower unemployment.

Sounds good to me.

DacotahLake 4 years, 1 month ago

Better to see our economy crash (and rebuild) than to forever surrender American culture to millions of foreign invaders who don't share our history, morals or language.

thebigspoon 4 years, 1 month ago

I am not defending illegal immigration, but I am sure as Hell angry about your racist, elitist comment. Where in the world do your think our "history, morals or language" came from, if not from (legal) immigrant to this country? You can blather all you want about illegal immigrants, but what you are actually thinking is "illegal non-white, non protestant, non-Republicans". Don't disguise your bigotry as patriotism or nationalism, either, because it is what it is, and it ain't clean. If you're going to argue your point, argue it for what is it: bigotry, hate and ignorance. Argue the steak, not the sizzle.

That being said, you are right that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. The problem has been put forward time and again, and it's the businesses and individuals that hire these people. Look around Lawrence at any roofing, landscape, or food service organization, for example, and tell me that the businesses employing these people are checking for immigration status. It's not happening in very many cases. The problem is ours, not the illegals', because we have come to depend on the cheap, under-the-table wages we pay to "earn" our profits. Stop the illegal hiring, in all areas of business or family life, and you'll stop the reason for the illegals coming here. It may take a while, and we'll see some major price and cost of living issues, but it will all work out, if we are truly committed to the issue. And, at least, we'll maintain our honor because we'll be honest about the reasons for our changes.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 1 month ago

The problem is neither "ours" nor "theirs", it's both. Corporations that hire illegal immigrants should be held accountable for their actions. Individuals that hire illegal immigrants (house painters, nanny, restaurant workers, etc.) are more difficult to find and therefore more difficult to be held accountable, but efforts should be made. And the illegal immigrant should be held accountable for their actions. Only a honest, comprehensive approach will ever be successful.

thebigspoon 4 years, 1 month ago

J, I agree to an extent--the problem is with both. But, and I stress this strongly, we have little control over who immigrates illegally, apparently, so the real root problem remains the entities who hire these people. Yes, in a perfect world, the illegals would stay where they are and all would be well. Unfortunately, perfection is a long ways away, so we have to concentrate on the root problem: making it attractive for them to come here in the first place. So, make it impossible to hire them, who- or whatever you are, and make sure the ones who ar here are ferreted out and dealt with, We already have statutes that address this issue, do not need any more government intervention other than upholding the laws that already exist. Government doesn't get any bigger, the illegal problem dies of attrition.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 1 month ago

Interestingly, I see the problem just the opposite. Of the 10-12 million illegal immigrants here, how many work in some big factory? Some, but I would guess not as many as we would think. Go to California and what will you see? At every Home Depot, paint store or hardware store, there will be a couple of dozen people hoping to get day labor. These people will get paid under the table at rates far below fair. There is zero will on the part of local authorities to halt this behavior not because they want to halt this worker exploitation or they want to protect business interests. A crackdown would be highly unpopular in some communities so local authorities turn a blind eye. It would be easy to round up two dozen here and three dozen there. The numbers would be staggeringly high. There is no political will. Sanctuary cities who make it public policy not to identify illegal from legal make any legitimate attempt at law enforcement impossible. I would guess that 90% of restaurants in California hire illegal immigrants. While we may decry the policies of a major chain restaurant, how does own hold a small restaurant will less than 10 employees to the same standard? It's those illegal immigrants that I think would be really hard to control at the employer level.
Round up the illegal immigrants at the hardware store and send them back. That will solve the problem of exploitation of the day laborer. Continue to punish the corporations that hire illegal immigrants. And do whatever is necessary to secure the borders.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 1 month ago

A couple of grammar mistakes on my part, sorry.

thebigspoon 4 years, 1 month ago

Don't worry--the grammar police have been diverted to immigration control for the time being.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 1 month ago

I haven't had an accident in years, can I drive without insurance? And certainly I can be trusted to use my judgement and run red lights if I think it's O.K., right? And after a few beers, I'll be fine to drive home. Or Maybe, just maybe, we can follow all the laws. And if we disagree with some, we can work to change them. But until that change happens, I'll buy insurance, stop at red lights, not drive while drunk and expect all law enforcement agencies to enforce all laws. And I'll expect all good citizens to obey the laws. How's that sound?

pace 4 years, 1 month ago

i would like to see real penalties for the corporations and industries fueling the illegal immigration by their hiring of illegal immigrants. They are giving our jobs away. I am for heavy fines, penalties , jail for the persons who hire illegally. Follow the money law. Marijuana should be decriminalized, regulated and taxed like alcohol and tobacco. We need to reduce the flood and economic keys to the gates at our borders. Quit chasing the illegal immigrant through the turnstile. Make the industries pay more when they hire illegally than they save. Then the business's will demand the government to pass a workable temporary visa program. Businesses and industries will pay more if they hire legal workers but it will be cheaper for the country. Increase the fines, penalties and jail second time offending bosses who hire illegals for American jobs. Make the laws , follow the money.

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