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The Lawrence Journal-World reports today that the Kansas state legislature probably won’t be moving forward with a slate of immigration bills supported by Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach, who has managed to impose his anti-immigrant vision on states like Arizona and Alabama, appears to be a swing-and-a-miss in his own home state.
State legislators quoted by the Lawrence Journal-World, it seems, have carefully noted the impact of Kobach-authored laws like SB 1070 and HB 56 and concluded that it isn’t for them:
“I don’t sense the support in the Senate for that kind of legislation,” said Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton.
House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said, “I don’t have a burning desire to address immigration this year.”
O’Neal said he doesn’t want to pass a law that guarantees putting the state in litigation “just for political expediency so somebody can have a good vote.”
House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said the more people learn about the effects of similar Kobach laws in Arizona and Alabama “the more people shy away from the direction he wants to go.”
Which direction is that? From the Wichita Eagle:
Lawmakers heard last week about crops rotting in fields in Alabama and Georgia after residents both legal and illegal fled the states; about a German Mercedes-Benz executive having been detained in Alabama after a traffic stop until his passport could be retrieved; about churches and charities fearing their ministries would be harmed by an anti-harboring law; and of state Rep. Ponka-We Victors, D-Wichita, who is of American Indian and Latino heritage, having been hassled and detained by border control agents while visiting family in Arizona.
Hence why a broad swath of allies stepped up to oppose the law:
Several business and religious leaders lined up in opposition. They said the bills would lead to racial profiling, and make the state less safe because undocumented workers would be unwilling to volunteer information to police about crime activity for fear they would be deported.
Morris, however, said there is quite a bit of support for a bill that would allow some undocumented workers to apply for a legal status that would allow them to work in Kansas industries facing labor shortages.
Kansas, by the way, is a state which needs more laborers so badly that it is petitioning the federal government for a waiver to begin a legal guest worker program. Is Kris Kobach, in his anti-immigrant frothing, really so willing to ignore the Kansas economy and what it needs?