- Associated Press - Monday, June 20, 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Sedgwick County Commission will consider a resolution this week to ask the Kansas Legislature to bar immigrants who aren’t in the state legally from receiving in-state tuition and for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to block immigrants without legal status from participating in a federal program that provides nutritional foods and beverages to low-income families.

Commissioner Richard Ranzau, who is championing the proposals that will be considered Wednesday, said taxpayers shouldn’t have to support immigrants in the country illegally, The Wichita Eagle reported (https://bit.ly/28JX8D3 ).

“Our taxpayers subsidize state universities. And the question is, why are we subsidizing people who are here illegally when they can’t even get a job?” Ranzau said. “It all goes back to, you know, forcing the taxpayer to subsidize illegal immigration through a variety of means, and these are a couple ways that the state could assist the taxpayer.”

But Commissioner Dave Unruh said he thinks county taxpayers want the commission to focus on county concerns.

“I don’t think they want us involved in state or national issues where we have no authority,” Unruh said. “This discussion only sets us up for criticism and ill-will in the community.”

The resolution states: “Sedgwick County government believes that providing public money to support illegal aliens diverts valuable resources away from the sources of those funds, namely the citizens and legal immigrants who call Sedgwick County home.”

The resolution asks the Legislature to amend state law to prohibit anyone without lawful immigration status to receive in-state tuition, which they have been able to do since 2004.

Ranzau said the issue affects Sedgwick County because it provides some funding for Wichita State University and the Wichita Area Technical College. If it passes, the resolution would be sent to House Speaker Ray Merrick and Senate President Susan Wagle but Ranzau said it’s not the commission’s intention to have the Legislature consider the issue during a special session that begins Thursday.

Ranzau proposed several changes to the Women, Infants and Children program last fall, including a requirement for legal citizenship or immigration status to be eligible.

The renewed request would be sent to the offices of Gov. Sam Brownback and health department Secretary Susan Mosier. The state would have to ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture for permission to make the change because WIC is a federal program.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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