AG calls on Kansas legislature for new law blocking Sanctuary Cities following Wyandotte Co. vote

Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 4:31 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - After a county in Kansas voted to become a ‘sanctuary’ for immigrants, AG Derek Schmidt has called on the legislature to create a law to block sanctuary cities.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says on Thursday night, Feb. 10, the Unified Government of Kansas City, Kan., and Wyandotte Co. passed a new local ordinance.

Schmidt said the ordinance creates a “sanctuary” county designed in part to “impede the enforcement of immigration law in Wyandotte County.”

“The local government in Kansas City last night narrowly adopted an ordinance that, in colloquial terms, designates Wyandotte County in some ways as a ‘sanctuary’ jurisdiction for illegal immigrants,” said Schmidt. “In part, the ordinance attempts to prohibit or impede Kansas City law enforcement officers from participating or assisting in the enforcement of immigration law.”

The move is the latest by any city in Kansas to limit local law enforcement cooperation with immigration authorities.

“In my view, it is unwise to inject a patchwork of local immigration politics into law enforcement activities in this manner, particularly at a time when the Biden administration continues to fail in its duty to secure our southern border,” Schmidt noted. “It is possible to welcome immigrants without ordering the police to ignore the law.”

Schmidt said the matter is not one of just local concern.

“Every Kansan who visits Kansas City for shopping, dining, health care, recreation or any other purpose deserves to know that the local police department can fully participate in enforcement of applicable law and is not arbitrarily obliged to turn a blind eye to particular illegal activity merely because local politicians have demanded it,” he continued.

However, Schmidt admitted that state law does not clearly prohibit the new policy.

“Even after years of discussion and debate, the State of Kansas has not adopted a state statute specifically prohibiting local ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions for illegal immigration,” Schmidt said. “I believe it is now necessary and appropriate to do so, and I call upon the Legislature to enact a clear, strong and effective state law on this subject this year.”

AP reports the Wyandotte Co. board voted 6-4 to adopt the Safe and Welcoming Wyandotte Act. The move allows those without access to state-issued IDs to get local ones instead.

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