A New Immigration Law Would Bring a Stronger Kansas

By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR 

(This was originally published in the Kansas City Star online.)

Headshots101The Sunflower State is home to a vibrant and growing Hispanic community — this is heartening to me as a native Kansan whose family has proudly called the state home for more than 60 years. The Kansas demographic landscape has changed quite a bit over the past decade. The Hispanic population alone grew by more than 59 percent according to Census figures; over 301,000 Hispanics now call Kansas home. The community has become an important contributor to growing the state’s economy, particularly during the last few years as the nation has struggled to recuperate from a difficult recession.

According to the most recent figures, Latinos have a state purchasing power of more than $6.7 billion, and Hispanic-owned businesses account for $1.3 billion in sales and employ almost 8,000 workers in the state. In the small rural towns of the Great Plains, migrant families have helped breathe new life into America’s heartland by toiling the fields, opening up small businesses, and filling school classrooms with the next generation of scientists, entrepreneurs, teachers and farmers.

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