Alvey joins Kelly in supporting refugees in Kansas

Mayor-CEO David Alvey today said he would join with Gov. Laura Kelly in support of continuing to allow refugees in Kansas.

The mayor’s announcement, in a news release, cited a letter from Gov. Kelly and other governors to President Donald Trump. The letter said they were willing to support allowing refugees into their communities.

The correspondence came in response to President Trump’s Executive Order 13888, “On Enhancing State and Local Involvement in Refugee Resettlement,” according to a UG spokesman. The order directs the federal government to resettle refugees only in jurisdictions in which both the state and local governments have consented to receive them.

Mayor Alvey has previously talked about how refugees and immigrants built Kansas City, Kansas, and how the city has a large refugee group that he is supportive of, said Mike Taylor, a UG spokesman. Alvey agrees with the governor’s letter, he said. Kansas City, Kansas, already has a number of refugees settled here.

“Kansas has a long and proud history of welcoming the world’s refugees into our state,” Kelly said in her statement. “As Governor of Kansas, I not only consent to the initial refugee resettlement in Kansas as per the terms of the Executive Order, I also welcome them into our state.”

Kelly said that her administration is committed to working with President Trump’s administration to ensure that refugees are properly vetted and arrive in Kansas in a safe, orderly manner.

“Kansans are among the most welcoming, openhearted people in the nation,” Kelly said in the letter. “I know they’ll continue to accept these peaceful refugees into their communities, just as so many other states have done.”

Kansas City, Kansas, is one of several communities in Kansas that already have, or are preparing to issue similar letters of support for refugees to be resettled locally.

Taylor said that the support shown today for refugees is not the same as supporting municipal identification cards or sanctuary cities.

Taylor said the UG staff is currently researching the municipal ID question. A special session is being planned sometime in February on the topic, where the UG Commission will hear different sides of the issue and then decide how to proceed, Taylor said. The UG plans on presenting information on what municipal IDs are, how it has worked in other cities, and a legal perspective on it, as well, he added.

In October, advocates of municipal ID in KCK held a meeting in which they said they would attend all the UG Commission meetings until the “safe and welcoming” municipal ID item is placed on the agenda for consideration.

Taylor said Mayor Alvey, while being open to hear a presentation on the municipal ID issue, currently does not have a position on municipal IDs, and he has publicly said in the past he does not want to do anything that would put Kansas City, Kansas, in conflict with the federal government and would make it a target or jeopardize the federal funding it gets. The community has received millions in federal funding for projects including highways.

One issue that the UG will be considering on municipal ID is what kind of document can be used to get municipal IDs, he said. Two suspects in the Central Avenue shooting, for example, might have received municipal IDs if the only requirement was showing a utility bill, he remarked.

He doesn’t think the UG officials in general are opposed to municipal ID, but there are some nuances to be worked out, he said.

A full copy of Gov. Kelly’s letter to President Trump can be viewed at https://governor.kansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Governor-Laura-Kelly-Letter.pdf.

To see a previous story about municipal ID here, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/municipal-id-card-advocates-to-take-the-issue-to-ug-meetings/.

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