Immigration reform is needed, yet remains elusive in the nation’s capital.
Unfortunately, the wrong voices too often drown out more reasonable policymakers, with radical agendas stalling federal government attempts to fix a broken immigration system.
As explained in today’s edition, immigration is a major concern in southwest Kansas, making it No. 4 on The Telegram’s list of Top 10 local news stories of 2017.
All of Kansas knows firsthand the crusade to deliberately mislead the public and their elected representatives on immigration. Damaging policies were enacted in large part because of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who used bogus claims of undocumented immigrants voting in droves to push for stricter voter registration guidelines that only made it more difficult for legal residents to vote.
Kobach’s recent attack of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was more proof of his anti-immigrant sentiment.
Nearly 800,000 young immigrants who passed DACA background checks currently live and work legally in the country, with several thousand in Kansas. Ending DACA reportedly would cost Kansas some $330 million annually in Gross Domestic Product, the total value of goods produced and services provided.
Kobach’s shortsighted stand on immigration also fit then-presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric, making an alliance between the two far-right Republicans inevitable.
Trump made a campaign pledge to end DACA. Kobach labeled DACA as a safe haven for “gangbangers,” even though the Department of Homeland Security regularly vets DACA participants.
They both refuse to acknowledge how the vast majority of immigrants here, regardless of their documentation, fill many pressing labor needs and contribute in other ways. As for DACA students, they’ve assumed difficult-to-fill positions in education, health care and other areas vital to local economies.
But Kobach and Trump care more about firing up their extremist base than solving problems.
Kobach will milk that very approach in his run for governor — similar to Trump making outlandish campaign promises such as a plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, which he knew wouldn’t happen.
Meanwhile, we’re going nowhere fast on immigration reform. Only when voters purge extreme-right, immigrant-bashing lawmakers will there be any shot at realistic solutions.