Kelly resists GOP efforts to debate border security

Republicans want Gov. Laura Kelly to join a national debate over border security as the GOP tries to undercut her standing with voters ahead of next election.


State News

July 1, 2021 - 9:19 AM

Gov. Laura Kelly celebrates the new Hill’s Pet Nutrition Small Paws Innovation Center in Topeka on June 23.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Republicans are trying to pull Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly into a national debate over border security as the GOP works to undercut her standing with voters ahead of her re-election bid next year.

Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Estes, who represents south-central Kansas, publicly urged Kelly on Wednesday to send law-enforcement resources to Arizona and Texas to help them with security along the border with Mexico. His call came the same day former President Donald Trump visited the border to assail President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.

Estes and the state’s other two Republican congressmen, Jake LaTurner and Tracey Mann, sent Kelly a letter last week, pushing her to share resources with Arizona and Texas. Earlier this month, the Kansas Republican Party criticized Kelly for being “silent” on border security.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded more than 180,000 encounters on the Mexican border in May, the most since March 2000.

Kelly responded by urging the three congressmen to “get to work” on passing comprehensive immigration reforms instead of resorting to “political games.” 

In Kelly’s 2018 race for governor, Republican Kris Kobach made fighting illegal immigration a key issue. But Kobach lost after alienating moderate GOP and independent voters.

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