Federal immigration uncertainty causes anxiety in western Kansas

The federal fight against illegal immigration – intensified by President Donald Trump’s decision to end a program shielding those brought here illegally as children – is raising fears among some about the availability of workers in western Kansas.

State Sen. John Doll, R-Garden City, said the possible end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program “scares the heck out of me.”

“Without those workers, the Dreamers, we’re going to be in dire straits,” Doll said.

Undocumented immigrants have long supplied labor in Kansas agriculture. But the pool of available workers began shrinking a few years ago amid drought and increased immigration enforcement by former President Barack Obama, said Joe Jury, a farm and feedlot owner southeast of Garden City.

The end of DACA, which allows people brought to the country illegally as children to remain in the United States and work legally, could push away even more immigrants. That may be especially true if DACA recipients are deported and other family members in the country illegally go with them.

Jury said he downsized his operation over…

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