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Archive for Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kobach: Immigration bills likely in next legislative session

November 25, 2012

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— Opposing sides in the debate over illegal immigration agree on one thing: When the 2013 Kansas Legislature convenes in January, there will be renewed attempts to tackle the politically explosive issue.

“There will be some action taken on immigration,” said Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has become a national figure in passing laws in various states that crack down on illegal immigration.

“We don’t know what kind of crazy thing he (Kobach) is going to throw at us,” said Sulma Arias, who is executive director of Sunflower Community Action, a Wichita-based nonprofit organization.

While Kobach has succeeded in pushing aggressive measures in states such as Arizona and Alabama, he has not been successful in his home state.

Last year, strict measures against illegal immigration stalled in the Kansas Legislature. Neither Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, nor House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, seemed interested in the legislation.

But Morris was defeated in the Republican Party primary, and O’Neal is leaving the House to run the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

A more conservative brand of Republican politics is taking over the Senate and has already settled in the House.

Still, Arias sees a difference in attitude on illegal immigration issues between Kobach and Gov. Sam Brownback, who are both Republicans. In the early 2000s, she said, Brownback was a moderate on the issue. Now, she said of Brownback, “He is not working against us, but he is not working for us.”

In 2007, Brownback, then a U.S. senator, was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would give undocumented students brought to the United States as children the chance to earn legal status. But as he was leaving the Senate after his election as governor, Brownback voted against the bill.

Last session, Brownback said the Legislature should leave illegal immigration to the federal government.

“I think it’s primarily a federal issue,” Brownback said.

And in 2011, he indicated he wasn’t interested in a bill the House had passed to repeal the less expensive in-state tuition for some undocumented students. The bill died in the Senate.

But Kobach thinks the votes are there now in the Senate to approve such a measure. “That is a perfect example of a bill that will probably still pass the Kansas House today and probably get a favorable vote in the Senate,” Kobach said.

Under current law, students are considered Kansas residents eligible for in-state tuition if they graduated from a Kansas high school or received a GED, have lived in the state for three years and pledge to become citizens.

The Kansas Board of Regents said approximately 400 students are enrolled under the law at state universities, community colleges and technical colleges.

Supporters of the federal DREAM Act say the recent presidential election, in which President Barack Obama received 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, shows that Republicans need to do a better job of courting Latino voters, and that Kobach’s positions are no longer popular.

Kobach was an informal adviser on immigration issues to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Romney backed so-called “self-deportation,” a term used by Kobach to describe the departure of undocumented workers because of tough immigration enforcement laws.

Recently, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. said, “Self-deportation being pushed by Mitt Romney hurt our chances. We’re in a death spiral with Hispanic voters because of rhetoric around immigration, and candidate Romney, in the primary, dug the hole deeper.”

But Kobach doesn’t buy that argument. Independent voters heavily favor enforcing immigration laws, he said. Kobach suggested that had Romney changed his position and supported the DREAM Act, he may have won some Latino votes, but he would have lost a larger number of independent votes.

Comments

parrothead8 2 years, 1 month ago

Kobach is helping to lead Kansas closer and closer to complete irrelevance on the American political scene.

SpeedRacer 2 years, 1 month ago

I thought Kobach was elected Secretary of State; I didn't realize he is the de facto Governor.

Keith 2 years, 1 month ago

He may not currently be governor, but it looks like he's trying out for it.

ksjayhawk74 2 years, 1 month ago

He's still a little hurt that he's not going to Washington with Mitt Romney.

oldexbeat 2 years, 1 month ago

And that Brownback, really a man of his word, right ? Not.

"In 2007, Brownback, then a U.S. senator, was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would give undocumented students brought to the United States as children the chance to earn legal status. But as he was leaving the Senate after his election as governor, Brownback voted against the bill." Co-sponsor. Duh. Guess he really didn't mean -- what ? Nothing. He just wanted to win. What? Nothing. This is a man of no true beliefs.

KS 2 years, 1 month ago

I don't think he is going to do anything that Oklahoma has not already done.

Cait McKnelly 2 years ago

Kansas; aspiring to be Oklahoma since 2010.

question4u 2 years, 1 month ago

Patrons of prostitutes and those possessing illegal drugs are jailed – why not those who employ undocumented workers? The answer is that it's bad for business. If business owners no longer dared to use exploitable labor, they would have to pay competitive wages, and that might offset their increased revenues now that they'll contribute nothing in income tax to the state.

Mike "The Tool" O'Neal is no longer in the Legislature. Will the right wing extremists put their racism before their greed and introduce effective penalties for those who knowingly hire undocumented workers? Or will they continue to spew their bigoted swill about "olive complexions" and murdering immigrants from helicopters while kowtowing to those in the Kansas Chamber of Commerce who are horrified at the thought of having to hire US citizens and pay them competitive wages?

2 years, 1 month ago

This will all be fine and dandy until all the business employing illegals in western Kansas start seeing their sweatshop laborers disappearing. Then there'll be hell to pay and they'll be backpeddling in Topeka once the threat of them losing their back pocket money hits.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 1 month ago

Kobach's job as Sec. of State has absolutely nothing to do with immigration, or legislating of any kind, for that matter.

But from KK's perspective, he really only has one job-- keeping his name in the headlines, and appealing to the xenophobia of his base requires almost no effort on his part.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 1 month ago

Really!!! But that begs the question of who let you in.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 1 month ago

Legal immigration, done in an orderly manner that we as Americans have decided upon. - Yes.

Illegal immigration, done in a manner forced upon us. - No.

WilburM 2 years, 1 month ago

How has illegal immigration been "forced" upon us? It's largely a result of our "free-market" economnic system, which galdly encourages low-wae (and hard-working) employees? "Forced?" Hardly.

jhawkinsf 2 years ago

There are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in this country. I have no doubt that included in that group are some very hard working individuals who are doing jobs most Americans would not want to do. However, that is not the only ones included in that 12 million. Also included are individuals working at jobs Americans would love to have. However the mere fact that illegal immigrants are working for wages lower than industry norms, wages get depressed for everyone else in those jobs. Some are paying taxes they will never receive a benefit for while others are working under the table for cash, paying no taxes at all.

Of course, included in that 12 million are children applying for kindergarden and young adults applying for grad school and everything in between. There are some stay at home moms and stay at home grandmas. Some are disabled and consumers of services for the disabled. Some are ill or injured and in hospitals as we speak. Reimbursement for those services is unlikely. Some are committing minor crimes such as breaking into cars and stealing radios while others are into major crimes. Some are in violent gangs and some are in prison.

In other words, they are much like us. The problem is this. We are currently operating our society at a loss. We're in debt and accumulating more. Those at the bottom end of the socio-economic ladder consume more than they contribute while those at the top contribute more than they consume. So if this 12 million were high end earners, they would be a net benefit to our society while if they are low end earners, they are a net drag on the economy. We can find a way to boost their income significantly, with all of us paying much higher costs for whatever services they produce. Of course, that leaves schools, health care, social services without a similar remedy.

I'm not a big fan of just throwing out that expression "free-market" like it's understood to mean the same thing to everyone. In this case, that free market would have to include low wages but also costs of schools, health and social services. Without radical systemic changes, I'll stand by my assessment that illegal immigration is being forced upon us.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 1 month ago

I guess this obstinant jerk who the clueless, hicks elected Secretary of State has still not settrled on the fact that the Republican Party got their collective asses kicked in the most recent election. His continued drumbeat on this single issue which inflames passions in the Hispanic community is a bone the this dip wad will simplly not understand is doing him and his party no damned good at all.

Check out trhe editorial cartoon in today's print edition, it is very applicable to Kansas, to good old gov brownbackwards and his regime. I wonder why the jW does not put these things on this digital edition?? Oh yea, this newssrag is owned by the GOP and it would look a bit self serving.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 1 month ago

"this newsrag is owned by the GOP ... " - Yet they allow you this forum, free of charge, to vent your anger. A simple thank you should suffice.

Alex Parker 2 years, 1 month ago

Yeoman2, we've discussed putting the cartoons online, but have not made a decision yet. There may be issues regarding rights of use. As you point out, the cartoons are included in the print edition.

hujiko 2 years, 1 month ago

If you do, please don't allow comments.

rtwngr 2 years, 1 month ago

Why should someone be rewarded with citizenship for breaking federal laws by entering the country illegally? I understand these people are only trying to make a living for their families in their native land but why is it the responsibility of the U.S. and its taxpayers to ignore the fact that these people entered the country without permission? Just because you got away with a crime, and illegal entry into the U.S. is a federal crime, why should that go ignored? Why should the U.S. be responsible for providing social services for this group?

Greg Cooper 2 years, 1 month ago

Why should someone who profits from the presence and labor of illegal entrants be rewarded? It is illegal to employ illegals, but nobody seems to be interested in the fact that those employers get away with crimes, do they?

Why should the U.S. be responsible for providing social services for this group? Because the U.S. allows sthe employers to profit from the use of the illegals. One can not reward one law-breaker at the expense of another if the law is to be respected.

When the employers are fined/prosecuted for breaking the law then the illegals can be dealt with under the law. "What's good for the goos is good fofr the gander."

rtwngr 2 years, 1 month ago

Why should someone be rewarded with citizenship for breaking federal laws by entering the country illegally? I understand these people are only trying to make a living for their families in their native land but why is it the responsibility of the U.S. and its taxpayers to ignore the fact that these people entered the country without permission? Just because you got away with a crime, and illegal entry into the U.S. is a federal crime, why should that go ignored? Why should the U.S. be responsible for providing social services for this group?

Briseis 2 years, 1 month ago

They have done a good job in their country. Why not let them fix this country?

FlintHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Wow. How easily some of you forget a huge fact: Unless your ancestral roots are American Indian, we are all descended from I.M.M.I.G.R.A.N.T.S Yes. Each and every one of us, including Kobach, his supporters and those Kansans who think like he does. What would have happened to this country if there had been immigration policies a la Kobach in the 1600s, 1700s and 1800s? Do you haters have any notion of the number of "immigrants" who fought for America in the Revolutionary War? Apparently, the difference is skin color.

KS 2 years ago

But our forefathers came here legally. Big difference. They did not come to sponge off our social system. They came here to work and work they did. This country has ALWAYS welcomed LEGAL imigration.

FlintHawk 2 years ago

Check your history books. They came, some by choice and some ousted from England as traitors/criminals. It was up to the local authority (usually a mayor) whether or not the incoming people got to stay in his town. There was no national immigration policy. The first immigration law was passed in 1790; it restricted naturalization (not emigration) to "free white persons of good moral character." Actually, this country has generally welcomed white Europeans — unless they were Irish. It would also be accurate to describe those coming to America in the 17th-19th centuries as migrant workers looking for a better life.

Dan Eyler 2 years ago

The secretary of state needs to drive immigration issue through the legislature. Kansans should not be expected to pay the cost of illegal immigration and education. I am open to legal immigration scaled to the needs we have for some jobs. But paying the way for people to come to Kansas illegally is unacceptable.

Cait McKnelly 2 years ago

Given the last election, Kobach chose the wrong political issue to beat his drum to. Still, he'll keep beating it to keep his name up there. Sad that he hasn't yet come to the realization that, on a national level, Kansas has become irrelevant to the right and a repugnant joke to the left. Sammie is a "has been" on the national level. He no longer moves in the DC circles of power brokers like Norquist. And the toe he dipped in the waters of Iowa sent him slinking home with his tail between his legs. I know he hoped to ride Perry's coat tails back to DC. Didn't happen. Now he and Kobach both are sitting on top of the pile in a one party state. Too bad it's a dung heap.

JackMcKee 2 years ago

It's a good thing the KS SOS is tackling this illegal immigration issue.

Yawn

JackMcKee 2 years ago

Don't worry kansas faithful. Thanks to Brownback and the Kochs, nobody wants to come to Kansas.

FlintHawk 2 years ago

To all you supporters of "Immigration Reform" in the State of Kansas: Please check out these data: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/20000.html

• 77.8% of 2011 Kansas population is white not Hispanic (87.4% white) • 10.8% is of Hispanic or Latino origin

Next door in Colorado, 20.9% of the population is Hispanic or Latino; Nebraska, 9.5%; Oklahoma, 9.2%; Missouri, 3.7%. Further away: Texas, 38.1%; Arizona 30.1%; New Mexico, 46.7%; California, 38.1%

What does "Immigration Reform" have to do with Kansas? What are you worried about? We are not relevant to the national trend that will turn Texas and other states blue. Not to worry; you're safe (stagnant) here.

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