Immigration and trade are essential aspects of the Kansas economy.
That was the consensus at the Kansas Economic Policy Conference held last week at the University of Kansas.
As The Topeka Capital-Journal reports, panelists at the conference said immigrant workers are vital in both highly-skilled tech sectors and Western Kansas agricultural businesses - as rural towns lose population. They also advocated for continued international trade because of Kansas’ position as an exporter of food and airplane parts.
The comments come as President Donald Trump’s administration takes aim at free trade deals it claims are harmful to American workers and works to reduce lawful and unlawful immigration.
Allie Devine, a lobbyist representing several agricultural organizations, said immigrants were essential to maintaining a labor force in rural Kansas. Without immigrants, she said there would be no way to stimulate the economy, but added that some communities are concerned about seeing their demographics change through immigration.