Photo: Republican Senate President David Williams
Entering 2011, Kentucky lawmakers agree that illegal immigration is one of the first issues needing to be addressed, but House and Senate representatives cannot agree on how to tackle it.
Pushing for the state’s police to be given the authority to arrest anyone they suspect may be in the country illegally is David Williams, the Republican Senate President. He seeks to be able to arrest unauthorized immigrants for criminal trespass if the individual is found on public or private property in the Kentucky. Additionally, much like Arizona’s law, Williams wants to make it illegal to harbor of transport undocumented immigrants.
On the other hand, the head of Catholic Conference of Kentucky Rev. Patrick Delhanty wonders why anyone in Kentucky would want to duplicate Arizona’s controversial law when it’s been legally challenged, adding that a law like it in Kentucky would only increase the overcrowding in the state’s jails.
While research from the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center says there are around 30,000 unauthorized immigrants in the state, many believe the number is nearly twice that amount.
“If you really want to solve the immigration issue, then you make the burden on the employers, because if the jobs aren’t here, neither would the illegal immigrants be here,” said Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who says the focus should be turned on employers, believing that if businesses stop hiring undocumented immigrants, they’ll stop coming to Kentucky looking for employment.
What the two sides do seem to agree on is the fact that they say the federal government has not done enough to control undocumented immigration, causing state lawmakers to take the issue into their own hands.