Lawyers upset after Governor Kelly signs bill banning sanctuary cities

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Local groups that work with immigrants and other undocumented people are calling Kansas Governor Laura Kelly after she signed a bill punishing about local efforts to help these groups.

“It’s incredibly short-sighted. It’s bad politics and it’s bad politics,” said Marcus Winn, director of voter engagement at More2. “State law targets, demonizes and incentivizes local law enforcement to report people.”

More2 is one of the groups that has mobilized in recent years to support the “Security and Reception Act” in Wyandotte County.

It was passed in February and would have provided municipal ID cards to immigrants and prevented local law enforcement from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Similar measures are in place in Lawrence and Roeland Park, whose lawyer is now assessing how they will move forward.

“We should expect there to be a measurable multi-point increase in crime in Kansas because of this bill,” Winn said. “Many families who have witnessed a crime will not report it because HB 2717.”

The Republican-backed bill also states that a local ID cannot be used to vote, impacting seniors and people with disabilities.

“I think this is a real insult to community leaders, not just activists and organizers, but also local elected officials who depend on the principle of self-governance to judge for ourselves what is best for us” , Winn said.

Supporters are now gathering to determine their next steps following the move, which they say was purely political, with the Democratic governor up for re-election in November.

“It’s really bad political analysis to think that signing this bill has some sort of advantage,” Winn said.

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