Kobach Across The Country

July 15, 2010 11:58 am ET

Kris Kobach seems to have made it his life's work to purge the United States of immigrants.  Whether on the local, state, or national level, Kobach has made a lot of headway in his fight to rid the country of hardworking Latino residents.

Kobach's History Of Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

Kobach: The Vast Majority Of Illegal Immigrants "Will Be Dependent On Government" If They Receive Amnesty. According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, Kobach "said illegal aliens who receive amnesty - the vast majority of whom will be dependent on government - after becoming citizens will consequently vote to keep in place the political system that benefits them." [Topeka Capital-Journal, 4/4/09]

Kobach: Deporting Undocumented Immigrants Will Create Entry-Level Jobs. According to the Associated Press, Kobach stated: "Let me tell you something, President Obama...If you really want to create an entry-level job today, deport an illegal alien today." [Associated Press, 5/2/10, via Lexis Nexis]

Kobach Called For Sending U.S. Military To U.S.-Mexican Border At The 2004 Republican National Convention. According to Salon.com, Kobach "was even awarded a coveted speaking role at the Republican National Convention in New York. On the opening day, Kobach took to the podium to call for the deployment of the U.S. Army along the U.S.-Mexican border to stop immigrant border crossers, in a bold rebuke of the party's more moderate immigration platform." [Salon.com, 10/18/04]

Kobach In America's Communities

Kobach Says He Charges Cities $50,000 A Year For His Legal Services. According to Yahoo! News: "Kobach says that...he normally charges about $50,000 a year to fight back challenges to his ordinances, which is under market rate. 'I charge lower rates just to make sure the cities can afford it,' he said." [Yahoo! News, 6/24/10]

Kobach Says His "Driving Principle Is To Restore The Rule Of Law." According to the New York Times, Kobach stated: "The driving principle is to restore the rule of law...You have members of Congress throwing up their hands and saying the system is broken. I really think that's a cop-out. Different parts of the system are working fine. The question is, How do you actually enforce the law in a vast nation that has very different circumstances in different states?" [New York Times, 7/20/09]

Kobach Believes That States Have "Inherent Authority" To Enforce Federal Immigration Laws. According to Mother Jones: "During these years, Kobach advanced an idea that had long been circulating in conservative legal circles: that local and state officials have the 'inherent authority' to enforce federal immigration laws. This unorthodox notion bucked the prevailing view-long held by both Republican and Democratic administrations-that the federal government has principal jurisdiction over immigration under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. If local and state governments were to strike out on their own, they could undermine federal efforts, create the potential for draconian crackdowns, and detract from law enforcement efforts by discouraging immigrants from cooperating with police, critics argue. In 2002, however, Ashcroft's Office of Legal Counsel issued a memo, which Kobach contributed to, supporting the 'inherent authority' theory." [Mother Jones, 5/7/10]

Kobach: "Single Largest Factor" Encouraging States To Combat Illegal Immigration Is The "Fiscal Burden That It Imposes Upon The States." In a paper published in the Georgetown Immigration Law Review, Kobach stated: "Without question, the single largest factor motivating state governments to enact legislation discouraging illegal immigration is the fiscal burden that it imposes upon the states. [Georgetown Immigration Law Review, accessed 7/2/10]

Sand Mountain Reporter: Kobach Sees Small Towns "As Financial Windfalls." In an editorial, Ben Shurett, publisher of the Sand Mountain Reporter, stated: "I fear Mr. Kobach targets town like ours, and towns like Hazleton, Pa., Valley Park, Mo., and Farmers Branch, Texas, as financial windfalls. I think he comes to our towns and says things to imply Albertville is paying an additional $6 million to $10 million to educate children of illegal immigrants and incite people into hiring him. I think he preys on the legitimate concerns, the irrational fears and even some bigoted attitudes to convince cities to hire him to represent their interests in lawsuits that may not be winnable." [Sand Mountain Reporter, 4/27/10]

Kobach Will Continue "About Six" Outstanding Immigration Law Cases While Secretary Of State If Elected. According to the Wichita Eagle: "If elected, Kobach said he would continue work on about six immigration law cases he is involved in around the country. He said he would work on the cases in his free time and did not plan to take on new legal cases." [Wichita Eagle, 6/9/10]

Kobach Advised Attorney General John Ashcroft And Decimated The Board Of Immigration Appeals

Kobach Was A White House Fellow And Adviser To John Ashcroft On Immigration Law And Border Security. According to the biography page of his 2010 Secretary of State campaign website: "In 2001, Professor Kobach was awarded a White House Fellowship, which took him to Washington, DC, to work for the Bush Administration in the personal office of Attorney General John Ashcroft.  Professor Kobach served as the Attorney General's chief advisor on immigration law and border security." [KrisKobach.org, accessed 6/23/10]

Kobach's "Reforms" Of Board Of Immigration Appeals Led To An Overburdened, Superficial System

Kobach Led Justice Department Reforms To Board Of Immigration Appeals. According to the biography page of his 2010 Secretary of State campaign website: "Professor Kobach also led Department of Justice reforms of the immigration court system, resulting in the reshaping of the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2002." [KrisKobach.org, accessed 6/23/10]

Kobach Reduced Number Of Judges Who Heard Immigration Appeals From 23 To 11, Which Led To Issuance Of One-Line Decisions. According to The Pitch: "In 2002, [Kobach] led a reform effort that reduced the number of judges who heard immigration appeals from 23 to 11. To keep up with the increasing number of cases, the smaller cadre of judges began issuing one-line opinions in response to complex legal decisions." [The Pitch, 1/4/07]

Former INS General Counsel: Acceleration Led Board To Consider Cases "Superficially." According to the Los Angeles Times: "[Former Immigration and Naturalization Service general counsel T. Alexander] Aleinikoff said the acceleration of decisions by the appeals board left the individual members too little time to consider each case more than superficially. 'These are very important cases for the immigrants involved and for the American people,' Aleinikoff said. 'To establish a program that rewards speed ... is troubling from the start.'" [Los Angeles Times, 3/12/03]

Los Angeles Times: "Virtually All Summary Rulings" Came Down "Against Immigrants." According to the Los Angeles Times: "The proportion of summary rulings -- those issued with no elaboration -- rose markedly until they accounted for more than half of the board's decisions by August. Virtually all summary rulings supported findings by immigration judges against immigrants." [Los Angeles Times, 3/12/03]

U.S. Court Of Appeals Judge: Board Of Immigration Appeals Adjudication "Has Fallen Below The Minimum Standards Of Legal Justice." In his majority opinion in the case of Benslimane v. Gonzales, Circuit Judge Richard Posner wrote:

This tension between judicial and administrative adjudicators is not due to judicial hostility to the nation's immigration policies or to a misconception of the proper standard of judicial review of administrative decisions. It is due to the fact that the adjudication of these cases at the administrative level has fallen below the minimum standards of legal justice. Whether this is due to resource constraints or to other circumstances beyond the Board's and the Immigration Court's control, we do not know, though we note that the problem is not of recent origin. All that is clear is that it cannot be in the interest of the immigration authorities, the taxpayer, the federal judiciary, or citizens concerned with the effective enforcement of the nation's immigration laws for removal orders to be routinely nullified by the courts, and that the power of correction lies in the Department of Homeland Security, which prosecutes removal cases, and the Department of Justice, which adjudicates them in its Immigration Court and Board of Immigration Appeals. [Benslimane v. Gonzales, No. 04-1339, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh District, 11/30/05, pp. 2-3]

Kobach's Reforms Led To Sevenfold Increase In Appeals, Overburdening Immigration Court System. According to The Pitch: "Appeals increased sevenfold between 2001 and 2005. Overburdened federal judges began criticizing the changes..." [The Pitch, 1/4/07]

The Justice Department Has Proposed Reversing Kobach's Reforms. According to The Pitch: "effectively reversing Kobach's reforms, the Justice Department is now proposing to boost the number of judges and mandate full opinions instead of one-line decisions." [The Pitch, 1/4/07]

Dismissal Of Judges

Reduction Of Board Size Led To Dismissal Of Five Pro-Immigration Judges That Some Called "Purge." According to the Los Angeles Times: "Five of the 16 members of the nation's highest immigration appeals board have been asked to find other jobs, congressional and legal sources said, in what critics termed a 'purge' by the Justice Department of the most pro-immigrant board members... 'There is no purge,' responded a Justice Department spokesman. The board is being reduced to 11 members at the end of this month as part of a previously announced streamlining plan, he added." [Los Angeles Times, 3/12/03]

Dismissals Sent "A Signal To The Remaining [Members] That If You Don't Toe The Line, You Could Be In Jeopardy." According to the Los Angeles Times: "'This sends a signal to the remaining [members] that if you don't toe the line, you could be in jeopardy,' said a Senate aide who asked not to be identified. 'It is a serious public policy concern, because you want to have an immigration system in place in which the judges are able to exercise independent judgment.'... The five 'are definitely pro-immigrant,' said immigration lawyer Lory Rosenberg, a former board member who said she also had confirmed the pending shake-up.'" [Los Angeles Times, 3/12/03]

Former BIA Judge: Dismissal Decisions Were Not Made On The Basis Of Seniority. According to the Los Angeles Times: "'Skewing the balance of people on that board is very questionable,' added [former Board of Immigration Appeals member Lory] Rosenberg, who had been one of the board's most liberal members. 'It's unclear to me what standard they have used to make the decision -- they definitely did not use seniority.'" [Los Angeles Times, 3/12/03]

Former INS General Counsel: Without Other Explanation, Dismissal "Has All The Appearances Of A Purge Of Dedicated Civil Servants Based On A Perception Of Their Policy Views." According to the Los Angeles Times: "'Until the attorney general discloses his reasons for informing these five people that they should seek other work, this has all the appearances of a purge of dedicated civil servants based on a perception of their policy views,' said T. Alexander Aleinikoff, who was general counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the Clinton administration and now teaches law at Georgetown University." [Los Angeles Times, 3/12/03]

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