Your Turn: City should cooperate with ICE
On Feb. 11, the Lawrence City Commission expressed its support for moving forward on drafting a policy that would require the Lawrence Police Department to limit cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in certain cases, which would put our community’s safety at risk.
During my first year in Congress, I have actively supported efforts to fix our broken immigration system to clamp down on illegal immigration and support those who want to come to the United States legally. The Lawrence City Commission’s draft policy proposal does exactly the opposite and continues to kick the can down the road on a major issue for Kansans.
Local governments and local law enforcement should be doing everything they can to work with our federal agents to ensure our communities are safe. This draft policy proposal is a step in the wrong direction that leads down a slippery slope of Lawrence becoming a sanctuary city, which would be detrimental for the community. Sanctuary cities across the country not only violate federal law and the U.S. constitution, but have proven to fail the American taxpayer and communities they are designed to help. Too often, we hear the story of an illegal immigrant returning to the United States after deportation, and committing violent crimes against U.S. citizens — in some cases, even murder.
I love Lawrence, and I believe in order to ensure the safety of our community and the people living there, this policy should not be enacted. Our time and efforts would be better spent ensuring the community is welcoming those who immigrated to our great country legally. The safety of the entire community should be heavily considered when debating this policy.
I strongly urge the Lawrence City Commission to abandon this proposal and instead commit to working with federal law enforcement officers, including ICE, so that they can continue to receive federal funds and keep our community safe.
• Steve Watkins represents the 2nd District of Kansas in the U.S. House of Representatives.