By Murrel Bland

When U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Third Dist.) speaks at the Congressional Forum, the questions from the audience are usually issue-oriented and rarely get into harsh criticism. Most persons who attend the forum are “good ol’ boy” Republicans or Democrats who are business-friendly. The Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Forum. It is in its 50th year.

It was somewhat different when the Forum met Friday, July 20 at the Children’s Mercy Park. About 75 persons attended the luncheon meeting. A person, who did not identify himself by name, said he works with documented and undocumented immigrants; he said most of these immigrants are productive workers and responsible citizens. Rep. Yoder bristled when this person lumped the Congressman into the broad category with President Donald Trump’s Administration.

Rep. Yoder said that he sponsored legislation that would allow children of undocumented immigrants who meet certain qualifications to remain here for two years. This is called DACA legislation which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA would allow these recipients to come out of the shadows and obtain driver’s licenses, enroll in college and secure jobs. President Trump campaigned during the recent election against DACA.

Rep. Yoder said he favors a secure border. He said that human smugglers receive $7,000 a person in exchange for passage into the United States. He said that illegal drugs continue to come into this country. He has visited the border to better understand the issue. He said more personnel is needed along with more sophisticated surveillance equipment.

In other matters, Rep. Yoder said that the national economy continues to do well as 213,000 new jobs were created during June and unemployment is at 4 percent. He said he is concerned about tariffs on agricultural products imposed by the Trump administration.

A medical doctor said he is concerned that the Federal Drug Administration prohibits pharmacists from compounding drugs that patients need. Rep. Yoder said he would investigate the issue.

Rep. Yoder said he has introduced a bill that would provide federal landmark status for the Quindaro Ruins. He said he arranged for Marvin Robinson to come to Washington, D.C., to testify. Robinson is a longtime advocate for recognition and restoration of the Ruins.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is executive director of Business West.