Kansas State Immigration Laws
Navigating the complexities of immigration law is intimidating. This is particularly true for immigrants living in the United States. Despite these challenges, immigrants should know their rights and responsibilities. This article aims to give comprehensive and easy-to-understand information to immigrants in Kansas. This article includes the following topics:
- Law enforcement and immigration in Kansas
- Employment checks
- Kansas E-Verify requirements
- Driver's license/ID requirements
- Public benefits restrictions
- Education restrictions
- Voter ID Rules
- Housing ordinances and immigration
- Related resources
- Hire an attorney
The rights, responsibilities, and resources related to immigration law may vary from state to state. For Kansans, learning about the rules that apply to your case is essential.
Local law enforcement officials in Kansas work with federal agencies in immigration enforcement. The following are some of the federal agencies that work with local governments in handling immigration issues:
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
ICE also added Section 287(g) to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The federal and local authorities implemented this program to boost their cooperative efforts. The effort is mainly for tracking immigrants living here illegally who have criminal charges.
Through 287(g), the federal immigration authorities and local agencies work with ICE to perform certain functions. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act authorized the program in 1996. But enforcement became more active after 9/11.
“Secure Communities" was similar to Section 287(g). The Donald Trump administration reinstated Secure Communities in 2017, but President Joe Biden revoked it in 2021.
Under Secure Communities, local police would fingerprint the people they arrested. Those fingerprints went into a database that DHS and the FBI shared. DHS used this shared information to verify the immigration status of the person arrested. If the system flagged a person as an immigrant living here illegally, ICE could take action.
A similar data-sharing arrangement still exists. But a person's identity generally only enters the database once they have been convicted of a crime.
Under federal law, employers should refer to federal employment eligibility verification rules. They should also look at the requirements for Form I-9.
Kansas does not impose any E-Verify rules on government or private employers. Certain contractors may choose to use the system.
Applicants for Kansas driver's licenses must present certain documents. This includes proof of lawful presence in the United States. They must also show proof of identity. Kansas' Department of Revenue's site contains the state's specific requirements for driver's licenses.
Federal law prohibits immigrants living in the U.S. illegally from getting certain public benefits. But they can get emergency services. This includes health care and other programs identified as "necessary to protect life and safety."
Kansas is among the states that allow in-state tuition benefits for qualified Kansas immigrants. The in-state tuition benefits also extend to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It protects eligible young adults from deportation after their parents brought them to the United States as children. It also gives these young adults work authorization for limited periods. Those periods of work authorization are renewable.
In 2004, the Kansas State Legislature passed House Bill 2145 into law. This law allowed eligible undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. They can use it to attend colleges or universities in Kansas.
The law only asks for certain requirements to be eligible for this benefit. This link discusses the criteria for determining students' eligibility.
Until recently, Kansas did not have its own state-mandated Voter ID law. But, a strict new Voter ID law requires voters to present a photo ID before casting a ballot. Acceptable forms of ID include driver's licenses, passports, student IDs, and more.
A voter with an acceptable ID can still vote using a provisional ballot. But, the voter must later submit proof of identity to authorities for the vote to count.
The country's Fair Housing Act protects people's rights to housing. These rules apply to people looking at renting, buying, selling, or seeking housing assistance. These rights are available regardless of their immigration status. It also bans fair housing discrimination on the following bases:
- National origin
- Familial status
Various organizations in Kansas provide widespread advocacy for immigrants. These organizations have offices throughout the state, from Kansas City to Topeka. The following are some of the organizations that offer legal help to immigrants:
- Immigration Connection, Inc. An organization dedicated to giving low-cost legal services to immigrants.
- International Rescue Committee. It helps asylees, refugees, victims of domestic violence, and victims of human trafficking.
- Immigration Advocates Network. Offers a directory of organizations that provide help to immigrants.
FindLaw.com also has ample immigration law resources. The resources offer a better understanding of immigrants' rights.
Understanding immigration law can be an overwhelming task. The pressure gets more intense for people going through an immigration process. But, it is essential to remember that Kansas has immigration attorneys that can provide legal services. They can give you a better understanding of the Kansas state law that applies to your case.
We recommend that you reach out to an immigration attorney. These immigration attorneys can assist in processing the following:
- Obtaining U.S. Citizenship through naturalization
- Acquiring lawful permanent status or green card visa
- Petitioning noncitizen family members
- Handling other immigration issues
With the ever-changing laws and frequent amendments, reaching out to a professional is best. Immigration attorneys have years of experience helping immigration communities. They can give you legal advice tailored particularly to your case.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you get the best results possible.