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AG Derek Schmidt statement on adoption by Kansas City, Kan., of a sanctuary city ordinance

Release Date: Feb 11, 2022

TOPEKA – (February 11, 2022) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today issued the following statement regarding last night's adoption by the Unified Government of Kansas City, Kansas/Wyandotte County of a local ordinance 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. In part, the ordinance attempts to prohibit or impede Kansas City law enforcement officers from participating or assisting in the enforcement of immigration law. This action is the latest by a Kansas municipality to limit local law enforcement cooperation with federal 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. It is possible to welcome immigrants without ordering the police to ignore the law.

“This is not merely a matter of 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.

“Despite these serious concerns, it is not entirely clear that current state law prohibits what is being done in Kansas City. 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. 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.”

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.