Meet Kris Kobach: Lawyer For The Anti-Immigrant Movement

July 15, 2010 12:21 pm ET — Melinda Warner

As the debate over immigration reform continues, anti-immigrant forces have offered some downright heinous solutions on how to deal with the issue and policymakers around the country are starting to dance to the nativist beat.  It's an old pattern, and it's not limited to Arizona's notorious show-me-your-papers law.

Kris Kobach

Many Americans have resisted the flow of immigrants since the country's inception.  And the rhetoric is always the same: they're taking our jobs, they commit crime, they're reproducing faster than us, they're taking over, they don't assimilate.  Xenophobic Americans have, over the centuries, scapegoated nearly every racial or ethnic group who migrated here — Irish, Chinese, Italians, Japanese, African-Americans (few of whom came here voluntarily), not to mention American Indians (who were here first).

The arguments coming from the anti-Latino-immigrant brigade are no surprise.  Descendents of some of the very populations that were once vilified are now taking their turn to try and exclude another group.  Like Barry Wong (son of Chinese immigrants) and Tom Tancredo (grandchild of Italian immigrants), these people — who aren't native to this country by any means — are now fighting against any sort of logical reforms to the current immigration system because they are afraid the Latinos will take our jobs, commit crimes, take over, and refuse to assimilate into American communities.

And their lawyer is Kris Kobach.

Kobach is a Harvard/Yale/Oxford-educated Republican candidate for Kansas Secretary of State who's become a national figure by hiring himself out to state and local jurisdictions to fight for restrictions on illegal immigrants partly on behalf of his employer, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

He's currently at the forefront of the battle in Arizona over the bill he co-authored, SB 1070.  But this isn't his first foray into the immigration policies of cities and states in which he is not a resident.  Kobach has inserted himself into local debates about immigration and left millions of dollars in legal debt in his wake.

Kobach has run up over $6.6 million in legal fees that small communities are responsible for paying.

Hazleton, PA: $2,400,000

Farmers Branch, TX: $4,000,000

Valley Park, MO: $270,000

Maricopa County, AZ: $12,600 (plus expenses)

Kobach has never been shy about speaking out against illegal immigration, in Kansas and around the country.  He has worked to prevent universities from offering illegal immigrant students in-state tuition. He assigned students in his law classes a book with a clear anti-Mexican immigrant message.

As an advisor to Attorney General John Ashcroft, Kobach "reformed" the Board of Immigration Appeals to such an extent that the number of judges who heard cases was reduced by half, thoroughly overburdening the system.

This is a man who struts into America's communities, convinces them to let him draft legislation, and then runs up astronomical fees to towns with only a few thousand residents.  His agenda isn't to solve any problem with immigration — it's to make a name and fortune for himself.

His record may be catching up with him, however.  Fremont, NE decided against hiring Kobach to represent them in the event their newly passed immigration law goes to court. Albertville, AL voted against hiring him at all because of his record in other parts of the country.

Kobach's record is ugly and underreported. Read about it here:

Kobach Across The Country

Kobach Used Anti-Mexican Immigrant Book In His Course Curriculum

Kobach Is Fighting To Prevent Illegal Immigrant Students From Paying In-State Tuition

Kobach, Arizona & SB 1070

Kobach In Hazleton, PA

Kobach In Farmers Branch, TX

Kobach In Valley Park, MO

Kobach In Fremont, NE

Kobach In Albertville, AL

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