By Emily Pickren
Last week, 32 Kansas mayors, from Wichita to Lenexa signed a letter to the Kansas congressional delegation, urging them to support common sense immigration reform. The letter was sent following a series of meetings and phone calls with local elected officials and other immigration reform supporters around the state. “The immigrant population of Kansas includes valued members of our community. We are supportive of a solution that allows reasonable access to citizenship while assuring adequate border security,” the letter reads.
NLC echoes the Kansas mayors’ coalition in its call to Congress to recognize the impact of any immigration reform on local governments. Immigration legislation should not burden local governments with extra law enforcement or administrative burdens.
Similar to this influential group of Kansas mayors, NLC believes it is the federal government’s responsibility to adopt a national immigration policy that balances national security needs with renewed efforts to grow the nation’s workforce, and allows local economies to grow while protecting the quality of life for all Americans.
The Kansas mayors' call for immigration reform reflects the message of the Kansas Business Coalition for Immigration Reform, whose members include the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Kansas Farm Bureau Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association, the Mid-America Green Industry Council and many other business organizations around the state.
The Kansas Business Coalition issued a letter to the Congressional delegation earlier this summer, urging support for immigration reform legislation, and specifically asking the delegation to support S. 744, the Senate bill that passed with bipartisan support in June.
The call from Kansas mirrors the current national outlook on immigration. According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly 9 in 10 Americans support immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. Kansas is also not unique in its diverse assemblage of supporters on the issue, from local governments to businesses that deal in everything from dairy products to human resources. As a recent Huffington Post blog notes, “If ever there were a dream team lineup, it's the large and dazzling array of those who support immigration reform.” Across the country, immigration reform has been garnering support from businesses, labor organizations, religious groups, and even many Republican donors and strategists, who have been urging their colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass an immigration reform bill similar to the Senate bill.
Although the House will continue its debate on immigration reform when members return from their long recess next month, the national consensus appears to be moving in the direction of comprehensive reform in line with the recently adopted Senate bill. Members of Congress should listen to their constituents and pass common sense immigration reform. Cities and towns in Kansas and across the country will thank them.