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  • Foto del escritorStefania Lugli

Thomas County resolution declares opposition to illegal immigration

By Stefania Lugli | March 13, 2024

The resolution, which is not a new law to be enforced, passed in late January after national and local concerns about undocumented immigrants.

Condado Thomas en Kansas cierra el paso a comunidad indocumentada

Thomas County commissioners adopted a resolution late January declaring their opposition to the “facilitation of illegal immigration,” in response to recent headline-catching immigration news, such as the ongoing feud between Texas and the federal government at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The resolution — uploaded to the county website with misspellings and a correction made in pen — is not a new law to be enforced on residents. It has no legal significance beyond being an opinion shared publicly by the Board of Commissioners as representatives for Thomas County.

In an emailed statement to Planeta Venus, Mike Baughn, the chairman of the Thomas County commissioners, said that they “have been concerned for some time” about the Biden Administrations “blatant violation of existing laws regarding illegal immigrants.”  

Baughn did not elaborate on what laws the current administration allegedly has broken. There have been no clear instances of the Biden presidency violating immigration law. Rather, they have had the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in their favor last year, after the states of Texas and Louisiana sued after the Biden administration told immigration agents to focus on deporting undocumented immigrants who are convicted of felonies or pose a risk to public safety.

There is no question that immigration — more specifically at the border — has been a contentious issue for decades. President Biden recently admitted that the current immigration system is “broken.”

Commissioner Baughn also told Planeta Venus that their office “stands with Texas,” referring to high tensions between Texas and the federal government, which began in January after Texas authorities blocked Border Patrol agents from the border.

Did local rumors inspire this resolution?

In late January, Colby residents flooded social media with concerns that the local government was housing undocumented people in a motel. Baughn posted on Facebook that the rumors were false, confirmed after speaking with the Colby City Manager and “other agencies.”

Despite its timing, Baughn denies that the resolution was inspired by community rhetoric. 

“We were aware of the rumors floating around the community, but the adoption of the resolution was not based on them,” he said.

Language in the resolution and in Baughn’s comments to Planeta Venus play up negative stereotypes about the migrants who cross the border. The resolution falsely claims that millions of immigrants have “evaded capture” and added that 169 immigrants have been on the terrorist watch list since 2021. That figure seems to stem from Border Patrol statistics that did determine there were 169 “encounters” with people on the Terrorist Screening Dataset (also known as “the watchlist) in 2023. Those 169 encounters made up 0.0083% of more than 2 million border migrants in 2023.

The resolution does add that the Board of Commissioners supports legal immigration, recognizing migrant-worker programs as “being beneficial to the sustainability of Thomas County.”

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