The Kansas Reflector welcomes opinion items from writers who share our objective of widening the dialog about how public insurance policies have an effect on the day-to-day lives of individuals all through our state. Judy Ancel is president of the Kansas Metropolis-based Cross Border Community and a retired labor educator.
For 4 years, a coalition of Wyandotte County teams has been urging Mayor David Alvey and the Unified Authorities commissioners to move an ordinance known as Protected and Welcoming Wyandotte. It will present for a municipal picture ID to the 1000’s who’ve none. Folks with out IDs embrace the houseless, previously incarcerated, aged who’re homebound or whose driver’s license has expired, poor folks, and lots of immigrants who misplaced their papers coming right here or had them confiscated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or legislation enforcement. IDs could be issued in a fashion to make sure that people’ info is protected and additional safeguarded by mandating no communication between Unified Authorities staff, together with police and sheriffs, and ICE, with exceptions just for situations when public security is in danger. This ordinance would cease the useless deportation of a whole lot of hardworking folks that’s facilitated by county staff.
The coalition has made many appeals to the mayor, despatched a whole lot of postcards and petitions signed by a whole lot, and lobbied, however he has by no means granted us a listening to at which commissioners may hear testimony from residents who want this ordinance or allow us to reply questions and refute misinformation. In frustration, we held our personal hearings on June 1 and July 6 with testimony.
“I suffered from verbal, bodily and psychological violence for 13 years,” mentioned one of many people who supplied testimony. “My ex-husband is an American citizen, and I didn’t report him to the police for concern of being deported as a result of I used to be always threatened that he would converse to immigration and that they’d deport me and I’d lose my kids.”
The Protected and Welcoming ordinance would have given this lady extra confidence to come back ahead. Folks want to have the ability to belief the police, but when police are working with ICE, that belief won’t exist.
One other particular person, a tradesman along with his personal enterprise, described being pulled over by Kansas Metropolis, Kansas, police. The officer mentioned he was going to get a ticket for driving with no license. The person informed the officer that he had a license and was a citizen, however the officer mentioned, “No you don’t. You’re Mexican,” and gave him a ticket.
Racial profiling, which many individuals of colour in our group complain of, is a continuing concern for immigrants when police and sheriffs routinely name ICE to verify on folks they’ve stopped.
Immigration Lawyer Catalina Velarde described the pipeline that exists from police to the sheriffs and the county jail and on to ICE and deportation. Wyandotte County Sheriff Don Ash informed us he calls ICE “as a courtesy” when immigrants depart his jail. This pipeline to deportation has swept away a whole lot of Wyandotte County residents in the previous few years, the overwhelming majority of whom (87.5%) had no legal conviction.
The deported are staff, lots of them known as “important” in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re fathers who depart each citizen and non-citizen kids behind. They’re typically the breadwinner of the household. All of us are impacted when our neighbors get deported, as a result of the remainder of the immigrant group recoils in concern, even these with papers. That concern makes them skip their youngsters’ parent-teacher convention. They keep dwelling, afraid to go away their neighborhood to buy or run errands. They accumulate well being issues, induced by concern and insecurity.
For these causes, many group organizations and leaders need the mayor and commissioners to move Protected and Welcoming Wyandotte. Our coalition contains El Centro, Cross-Traces Neighborhood Outreach, Advocates for Immigrant Rights & Reconciliation, The Cross Border Community for Justice and Solidarity, Grandview Park Presbyterian Church, the Mainstream Coalition, the Rosedale Improvement Affiliation, the Unified College District 500 college board, Wyandotte County District Lawyer Mark Dupree and three Unified Authorities commissioners: Melissa Bynum, Harold Johnson and Christian Ramirez.
They need a group the place younger folks don’t need to stay with the fixed concern that their mother and father will probably be deported; the place, as Dupree hopes, immigrants who’re victims of crime will report them and present as much as testify; the place, as different cities which have adopted related insurance policies have discovered, crime charges are decrease, there’s much less home violence and extra prosperity as folks really feel freer to buy and take part in group actions.
Frankly, we’re puzzled and marvel what Mayor Alvey and the opposite commissioners are afraid of. Is it that they don’t care as a result of unnaturalized immigrants can’t vote? So lots of our native politicians reward the transformation of the Central Avenue enterprise district by resourceful, hardworking immigrants. Isn’t it time to embrace our immigrants as members of our group and move Protected and Welcoming Wyandotte?
Via its opinion part, the Kansas Reflector works to amplify the voices of people who find themselves affected by public insurance policies or excluded from public debate. Discover info, together with submit your personal commentary, here.