Missouri AG threatens legal action after KC Mayor Lucas makes pro-immigration comment

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Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is threatening legal action against Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas after the mayor made comments suggesting the city would benefit from immigrants seeking asylum in cities such as New York coming to work in Kansas City.

Bailey, in a letter to Lucas on Thursday, said his comments were “wildly irresponsible.” The Republican pointed to a Missouri law that makes it a felony to transport people who are in the country illegally.

“Make no mistake, my office will do everything in its power to take legal action against any person or entity found to be in violation of these statutes,” Bailey wrote in the letter.

Bailey’s letter comes as he is embroiled in a tough primary campaign for a full term as attorney general. Republicans across the nation and in Missouri have made immigration issues at the southern border with Mexico a key issue ahead of the 2024 elections.

The letter follows comments Lucas made on social media on Tuesday, saying “All are welcome in Kansas City.” Lucas also shared a Bloomberg.com article that quoted him saying the Kansas City area could use more workers in its economy.

“Proud to work with my fellow mayors like @MikeJohnstonCO and @NYCMayor,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter, referring to Denver’s mayor and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, “as we work to ensure decompression of new arriving communities and collaboration among cities, labor, non-profits, and federal officials.”

Lucas on Wednesday posted a follow up statement that appeared to clarify that his previous comments were related to immigrants who were in the U.S. legally.

“Immigration is a tough, but important issue, even when discussing, as I am, persons who are lawfully present, with lawful work permits, and the lawful ability to come to our community,” he wrote.

Bailey also took issue with this statement, saying in his letter that it “ignores the underlying issue” of the federal government’s handling of immigration at the southern border.

Even after Lucas’ clarifying statement, Bailey’s letter went on to falsely claim that Lucas was offering an “open invitation for illegal aliens to come to Missouri.”

“Rather than undermining the rule of law, I invite you to join me as I actively seek to defend it and to protect Missourians,” he wrote.

This story included reporting from The Star’s Mike Hendricks.