Sixteen more local elected officials add names to effort to address family separations at border

Photo credit Jonathan McIntosh.

State Reps. Jarrod Ousley and Linda Gallagher this morning will deliver an addendum to their June 8 letter to U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder with the names of 16 additional local elected officials signaling their opposition to the federal government’s practice of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

With the addendum, 74 local elected officials — Democrats, Republicans and those who hold non-partisan positions – have signed the letter.

While President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order to halt the separation of children from parents at the border after mounting opposition to the policy, questions remain about how the federal government will enforce the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for entering the country illegally and whether and how children removed from their parents in recent weeks will be reunited.

Yoder, who was recently appointed chair of the House Homeland Security Appropriations sub-committee, took a fact-finding trip to the border earlier this month. Upon his return, he issued comments on the separation saying he sympathized with the families, but indicating that the issue was largely unavoidable because of a 1997 court ruling.

With Lenexa Mayor Mike Boehm’s signature, the effort now includes the mayors of four Shawnee Mission area cities.

Following the delivery of the bipartisan group’s letter, however, Yoder took a series of steps to signal stronger opposition to the policy. He wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding that the policy come to an end. And he met privately with Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielson earlier this week and urged her to end family separations, according to his office.

The additional signatories to the letter are:

  • Paul Snider, JCCC Trustee
  • Patty Markley, State Representative
  • Joy Koesten, State Representative
  • Tom Cox, State Representative
  • Jan Kessinger, State Representative
  • Stephanie Meyer, Shawnee City Council
  • Michael Boehm, Lenexa Mayor
  • Andy Huckaba, Lenexa City Council
  • Mandy Stuke, Lenexa City Council
  • Thomas Madigan, Roeland Park City Council
  • Erin Thompson, Roeland Park City Council
  • Christine Evans Hands, Merriam City Council President
  • Nancy Hupp, Merriam City Council
  • Jim Rawlings, Leawood City Council
  • Courtney McFadden, Prairie Village City Council
  • Brenda Cherpitel, Water Board One

With Boehm’s signature, the effort now includes the mayors of Lenexa, Roeland Park, Prairie Village and Shawnee.

Additionally, Reps. Ousley and Gallagher will deliver a petition signed by 1,129 residents of the Kansas Third Congressional District opposing the separation of families at the border.