By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
Some area leaders have been looking for a solution to the nation’s growing issue of illegal immigration, and two Seward County commissioners will address the public about some of those answers at tonight’s regular meeting.
A letter in the agenda packet stated that the issue is not just stopping people from illegally coming into to the U.S.
“What can we do or how do we deal with the immigrants we already have in our communities?” it read.
Officials from eight Southwest Kansas counties, including Seward County commissioners C.J. Wettstein and Ada Linenbroker, along with Haskell and Meade counties have been discussing possible solutions.
Five other counties, including Stevens, have been asked to join the group in working to find an answer to make it convenient for the area’s illegal residents to become legal.
“This would allow the immigrants to get jobs, obtain insurance, purchase homes and become a part of our communities,” the county’s letter said.
Counties will work over the next two months to bring representatives together from government, schools, businesses, human services and the Hispanic community to collect information for a town hall meeting.
That meeting will be on 6 p.m. on Sept. 6 at the Activity Center in Liberal. The county is inviting everyone to speak about the issue of illegal immigration.
“Kansas senators and representatives will be present for us to show them the benefits of establishing a local immigration office in Southwest Kansas,” the letter said.
In particular, officials being sought include city and county commissioners, individuals in the medical field and hospitals, law enforcement and legal counsel, local business owners who work with Hispanic employees, churches and school systems that deal with the huge influx of students.
“We need to find out the positive and negative impacts this population increase is having on our communities and if having a local immigration office in Southwest Kansas would benefit our communities,” the letter said.
Tonight’s commission meeting begins at 5:30 in the commission chambers in the Seward County Administration Building.T