Patrick Richardson

Managing Editor

Last week a state representative from Tyro, a small town I‘d never heard of in between Coffeyville and Caney managed to bring national — aye, international, attention to the great State of Kansas.

Unfortunately it wasn‘t for our beautiful state attractions or our occasionally pivotal historical events.

No, no, it was for suggesting illegal immigrants should be shot down like animals from the air.

According to the Wichita Eagle, Virgil Peck, (R-Tyro) said:

“Looks like to me, if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a (solution) to our illegal immigration problem.”

This left me facepalming. That this country, indeed this state, have problems with illegal immigration is self-evident — except perhaps to a few natural-born fools on both sides of the aisle.

However, this sort of stupidity is not helpful.

Granted, from what I‘ve been able to gather about Mr. Peck, in a battle of wits between him and a rutabaga, bet on the rutabaga. But he‘s managed to put me in a position of having to agree with Democrats — he needs to resign forthwith.

Once again an idiot politician shooting off his mouth has managed to make the state look bad. He even went so far as to say “I‘m just talking like a Southeast Kansas person.”

Mr. Peck, I‘m originally from southwest Kansas where we have a major problem with illegal immigration, and I‘ve lived in southeast Kansas for over 10 years now, we‘re not racists in this state and we don‘t condone murder.

Do we need to do something about the border? Yes, absolutely.

Do we need to do something about illegal immigration? Yes, absolutely.

But can we please refrain from stupid rhetoric on both sides?

Mr. Peck‘s comments not withstanding, Republicans don‘t really want to kill anyone. Nor are those on the right racist, generally speaking. So we would appreciate it if Democrats would stop calling us such. At the same time can those on the right please stop with the our way or the highway approach to border control.

I don‘t think so-called “comprehensive immigration reform“ is the way to go.

There are several problems with immigration and the border. They really need to be addressed one at a time — and putting aside ideology so they can be addressed with some common sense.

Let‘s start with getting control of the border. We can‘t really address the 5 to 20 million (no one really knows) illegals who are already here until we stop letting more over the border.

So let‘s get control of the border, not just for the immigration problem but for the drug wars going on along our border which are getting American citizens killed. Do that first.

Then, let‘s have the conversation about what to do about the people who are here.

First the DREAM Act. This, had it passed, would have allowed illegals who came here before the age of 16 and who had completed two years in the military or two years of college to apply for citizenship.

As a conservative, I have zero problem with the first part of that, and quite a bit of problem with the second. Anyone who joins our military, serves with honor and defends this nation should automatically be granted citizenship if they wish it upon honorable discharge. I don‘t know any conservative who would disagree with that. If I met one I would suggest a rutabaga was smarter than him as well.

The two years of college? Not so much. But I would think the left might be willing to give on that one. Come to that, I‘d be willing to give on that one if we could just close the border first.

It comes down to it, I think most conservatives would be willing to negotiate on what we do about the illegals who are here. I certainly think we need to consider guest worker programs and perhaps examine our immigration quotas and regulations as well as the application process. I‘ve known more than a few people over the years trying to come to this country the right way who have had to deal with a nightmare just getting the paperwork done.

“Give us your tired, your poor, your hungry…” Remember that? We‘ve made it very difficult for those tired, poor and hungry to come here. We need to look at why, and if it needs reform.

We also need people like Peck on the right, and groups like the National Council of La Raza on the left to stop with the polarizing rhetoric so we can sit down and have an actual conversation on this.

All IMHO, of course.

(Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Columbus Advocate and the Baxter Springs News. He can be emailed at