Topeka Kansas’ Hispanic legislators on Monday filed a bipartisan resolution that calls on the federal government — not the states — to work on immigration and specifies that any reforms should be humane, fair and just.
“We want to take the hate out of the debate,” said Rep. Louis Ruiz, D-Kansas City, who proposed the resolution.
The measure was co-sponsored by Reps. Mario Goico, R-Wichita, Reynaldo Mesa, R-Garden City, and Ramon Gonzalez, R-Perry.
House Concurrent Resolution 5026 states, “Immigration is a federal policy issue between the United States government and other countries — not Kansas and other countries.”
It urges Congress “to enact thorough, common sense, workable and humane reforms that reflect the realities of our country’s workforce needs and represent America’s values at its best.”
The resolution states the Legislature opposes policies that separate families and champions policies that help families and children.
The resolution also recognizes the importance of immigration as part of the country’s past and future.
The way we treat immigrants says a lot about our society being fair and just. Kansas should always be a place that welcomes people of good will,” the resolution states. It also states that immigration policies must affirm Kansas’ reputation as “a welcoming and business-friendly state.”
Ruiz and Goico said several proposed anti-illegal immigration measures considered by the Kansas Legislature have been misguided and prompted regrettable comments.
Kansas attracted national attention this month when Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said perhaps the state should consider shooting illegal immigrants from helicopters.
Peck said he was joking when he made the comment following a committee discussion about a program that controls feral hogs using gunmen in helicopters.
Peck initially refused to apologize but then issued a two-sentence apology after Republican leaders applied pressure.
Goico, Mesa and Gonzalez have said they accepted their fellow Republican’s apology. Ruiz, a Democrat, however, hasn’t. Democrats and several Hispanic advocacy groups have called on Peck to resign.
During the uproar over Peck’s comments, Arizona-like anti-illegal immigration legislation died in the Kansas House, and a bill to repeal in-state tuition for some undocumented students was rejected in a Senate committee.
Ruiz said the resolution is bipartisan in nature and hopes it will pass in the House and Senate.
It is based on the Utah Compact, which has been copied in several states. The proposal also calls on law enforcement to focus on criminal activities “not civil violations of federal code.”