The Question Was Not About Border Security

Kansas Viewpoint

There was a moment at the Kansas Commodity Classic when a real question almost made it to the surface

Published on: February 23, 2011
A farmer from southwest Kansas stood up and asked a very brave question during the business session of the Kansas Commodity Classic on Tuesday.

"I hear all this talk about how we have to stop immigrants," he said. "Yet Mennonite immigrants built this state. And the immigrants of recent years have not come to our part of the world to destroy anything. By contrast they are building homes and churches and businesses on Main Street and sending their children to school. But more and more, we fight immigration. I have had an ad in the paper for more than year trying to hire one employee with no luck. When are we going to reform our immigration policy?"

He addressed the question to Kansas's senior Senator, Pat Roberts.

Roberts cleared his throat, collected his thoughts and made a fairly coherent speech about the need for secure borders being the most important first step.

I understand there is a frenzy out there. Kansas actually elected a Secretary of State who wants prosecutorial power to stop voter fraud and prevent immigrants from going to school. In a time of economic hardship, those who are out of work find it easier to blame immigrants than to take a job that requires them to work hard or get dirty.

But in reality, immigration is filling the major the jobs in western Kansas. And, just as in the recent California farmers coalition effort "Take Our Jobs" that invited anybody to come take the jobs being filled by immigrants, its because nobody else is showing up.

Rhetoric and politics aside, the real question is when are we going to reform our immigration policy? Making speeches and whipping up frenzy about illegals is not an answer.