Sedgwick County Commission weighing in on Syrian refugees

Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas – Security is what Sedgwick County Commissioner Chairman Richard Ranzau says is his concern about bringing new refugees into our community. He’s concerned about the possible terror risk.

Ranzau suggested sending these letters to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement and the Kansas Department of Children and Families.

“There’s not a lot of information out there. The federal government doesn’t ask us for permission, doesn’t give us any insight,” said Ranzau.

In his letter, he suggests the following:

“Halt all refugee resettlement operations in the state until a state-wide policy has been developed and implemented that provides local jurisdictions the opportunity to opt-out of refugee resettlements.”

Ranzau points to the local government services like Comcare and the health department.

He says, “all of these functions require significant, additional funding needs. I do not believe that the local communities should be directed to carry this financial burden and the increased safety risk.”

A majority of commissioners agreed.

“I think we’d be in a better position to be proactive than reactive, and I’m sympathetic to the idea,” said Commissioner Karl Peterjohn.

“I certainly support the idea of bringing people who have very little choice and are being persecuted in their own home countries to assist them is the right thing to do, but I think we need to do it in a way that doesn’t put us at risk,” said Commissioner Jim Howell.

The commission did come to a consensus. Chairman Ranzau will be sending the letters this week.

Commissioner Ranzau has also requested DCF’s quarterly reports on refugee resettlement.

The organization sends those to the state department, but Ranzau has requested he be included on all future reports as well.

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