Refugee moratorium bill passed by Kansas House committee is illegal, discriminatory, and an affront to Kansas values
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (March 3, 2016) – This morning, the Kansas House Committee on Federal and State Affairs passed HB 2612, a bill which tries to empower the governor and local officials to ban refugees from resettling in Kansas. The following statement about the Committee’s action may be attributed to Micah Kubic, Executive Director of the ACLU of Kansas:
“We are deeply disappointed by today’s committee vote. HB 2612 is clearly and unequivocally preempted by federal law. Federal law and international treaties both assign sole power over refugee resettlement to the federal government, and this attempt by the state to assign itself some of that power is simply not permitted under the law. More troubling yet, HB 2612 is discriminatory in its intent and its impact. The bill would deny public services to individuals residing in Kansas based simply on who they are and where they come from. Such discrimination is illegal, unconstitutional, contrary to the core values that we hold as Kansans and Americans, and just plain wrong.
The legal challenges raised by HB 2612 should have become even more clear this week, due to litigation on this issue taking place in Indiana Just this Monday, a federal judge granted a request by Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc.—a refugee resettlement organization in Indiana—for a preliminary injunction blocking Indiana Governor Mike Pence from taking any action “to interfere with or attempt to deter the resettlement of Syrian refugees.” The court found that Exodus was likely to succeed in its litigation on its claims that the governor’s order was preempted by federal law and violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause. Those very same legal claims can be made against HB 2612. This week’s court ruling makes it abundantly clear that HB 2612 has serious legal and constitutional problems which warrant the bill’s rejection.
It is particularly troubling that the Committee was swayed by arguments made by the bill’s lead organizational proponent, the Center for Security Policy (CSP). CSP has been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and is known for trafficking in discredited conspiracy theories. CSP and its leaders have a constitutional right to speak their minds, but it is shameful that a majority of the Committee’s members chose to embrace that organization’s hate-filled, fear-mongering rhetoric.
We urge the Kansas House of Representatives to stand up for the rule of law and the values that make America exceptional. Reject this legally problematic, unconstitutional, discriminatory, and hateful bill.”
The ACLU of Kansas is the statewide affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Kansas is dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the united States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For more information, please contact Micah Kubic at 913.490.4101 or visit our website at www.aclukansas.org.
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