Disappointment doesn’t quite cover how we feel about the news that Gov. Kelly signed HB2717, a bill that contributes to an environment of fear, harassment, and intimidation for immigrants living in Kansas. It is a bill that requires local governments to do front-line immigration enforcement, even when that violates the law and Constitution. And it is a bill that will discourage people from reporting crime, make solving crimes harder, and make all Kansas communities less safe as a result.
Our Constitution talks in terms of “persons” with rights in these cases. Persons means all persons, including immigrants.
But the bill just signed by Gov. Kelly is not only about principles, or amorphous rights under the Constitution. Instead, the bill signed by Gov. Kelly will hurt real people in real danger, in real time. It does real damage to our state. For immigrants and, indeed, for every Kansan, the bill sends a clear signal – that this state wants to be unsafe and hostile.
Gov. Kelly could have shoved this bill in a desk drawer.
Instead, she signed a bill that shoves people fleeing violence and persecution into harm’s way.