TOPEKA — Kansas is the only state in the five-state area that does nothing to discourage illegal immigration, Secretary of State and leading anti-illegal immigration lawyer Kris Kobach said Wednesday.
Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado all do more than Kansas to prevent illegal immigration, Kobach said.
He urged the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, which is likely to debate immigration legislation this year, to get tough on illegal immigration and repeal a state law that allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at state colleges.
Kobach’s presentation comes as Congress prepares to debate sweeping immigration reform that could provide a pathway to citizenship for most of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants now in the United States.
In Kansas, Rep. Brett Hildabrand, R-Merriam, is backing a bill to repeal in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants. Lawmakers have pushed for repeal since the law took effect in 2004, but those attempts have failed.
About 600 students take advantage of the in-state rates for illegal immigrants.
Roughly 65,000 illegal immigrants lived in Kansas in 2010, according to the PEW Hispanic Center. But illegal immigration nationwide has declined since 2010.