By Alejandra Rojas & Robert Marin
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
9:23 PM CST, December 7, 2012
A plan to build a new immigration office in southwest Kansas is now on hold, after concerns from the Hispanic community.
Leaders in Seward County and Liberal wanted to build the office in Liberal. Their idea was to bring services closer to the growing Hispanic community in the southwest. Currently people have to drive to larger cities like Wichita and Kansas City to fill out applications and other paperwork. County leaders say, after the announcement, the local Hispanic community has not responded favorably.
"One of their big fears is when they built an immigration office in Missouri, within a few days they started building an ICE office two or three blocks from the immigration office and then everyone is too afraid to go to the office because they don't want to be picked up," said Seward County Commissioner Ada Linenbroker. "The people in our community feel the same way. It's not going to do them any good if we have an immigration office built here, but they are afraid to go to it".
Hispanics who live in Liberal say, they have too many questions and concerns about the office before it is built.
"The first thing that comes to mind, without me knowing is, is the immigration office here to control the immigrants, or will it just be an office." said Liberal resident Antolin Ortiz.
Seward County Commissioners plan to write to state and federal leaders about immigration reform. They will meet again on the issue in February.
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