Opinion Columns & Blogs

No surprise state blocked county plan to ask about citizenship

It was not surprising that the state told Sedgwick County this week that it couldn’t ask participants in the federal Women, Infants and Children nutritional program about their citizenship status. The U.S. Food and Nutrition Service informed the state last fall that doing so would violate federal rules and could endanger the federal grants for the entire health department. The WIC program provides assistance to pregnant women and new mothers, regardless of citizenship status. Advocates argue it is an important part of public health, and that the children of those pregnant women are U.S. citizens. Some county commissioners argued that the question was merely aimed at information gathering, and not at scaring people off. But Commissioner Richard Ranzau has made clear his desire to block illegal immigrants from receiving the food assistance. – Phillip Brownlee