Topeka Facing pressure from large dairies and feedlots desperate for workers, Kansas Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman is seeking a federal waiver that would allow companies to hire illegal immigrants.
Rodman has met several times with officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about launching a pilot program that would place employers and illegal immigrants in a special state-organized network. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that the goal is to create a legal, straightforward manner of organizing existing immigrant labor.
So far, Homeland Security has neither approved nor closed the door on the idea.
Now, a coalition of business interests is preparing to push the idea in Topeka. Details are expected to emerge this week about a bill establishing the outline of a state-managed worker program. Operating in cooperation with the federal government, it would link sponsor companies with illegal immigrants who have been in Kansas a minimum of five years and have no criminal background.