Kobach is an integral figure within the organized anti-immigrant movement and has been the primary architect behind legal strategies attacking DACA recipients, including Crane v. Napolitano and U.S. v. Texas. The former Kansas secretary of state for years collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in the form of legal fees defending harsh immigration laws that he drafted.
- Kansas Secretary of State and voting rights restrictionist Kris Kobach served as counsel to IRLI and the vice-chair of President Trump’s now folded Commission on Election Integrity.
- Kobach, who advised the Trump campaign, transition and now administration on immigration policy, has also co-authored some of the country’s most draconian and destructive anti-immigrant lawsuits and legislation.
- In his role at IRLI, Kobach, who bragged to the Washington Post about having authored the U.S. v. Texas lawsuit, has written legislation and launched lawsuits in Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Missouri, Alabama, and Arizona. Much of this legislation, including Arizona’s S.B 1070, or the “Show Me Your Papers” Law, has been struck down in court as unconstitutional.
- In 2006, Kobach helped FAIR’s advisory board member former Rep. Lou Barletta, then the mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, develop his cruel and unsuccessful anti-immigrant policies, which included fining landlords who rented to undocumented immigrants.
- Kobach collects hundreds of thousands of dollars in the form of legal fees to defend his draconian laws, even as they bankrupt local economies, crush small businesses, tear apart communities, and cost taxpayers millions.
- Virtually every year he files statement of financial interest forms which declare his income from his private practice. In 2012, the Wichita Eagle reported that Kobach had received $424,000 in legal fees over a five year period for work in various jurisdictions, and in 2010 the KS Secretary of State reported income from 10 groups including IRLI, the Eagle Forum, and Maricopa County, Arizona – home to Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
- Below are just a few examples of the costs to cities and states of the policies Kobach is hawking:
- Legal fees, Hazleton, PA, July 13, 2006 – Took on debt to pay $1.4 million in legal fees and eventually had to file for a state bailout. Almost $400,000 paid to defense lawyers including Kobach.
- Legal fees, Farmers Branch, TX, Nov. 13, 2006 – over $7 million.
- Then-Mayor Bob Phelps has since called Kobach’s pitch “a sham,” “It was just a sad situation that we had to go through, and everybody now regrets it.”
- Economic costs, AZ SB1070, Jan. 13, 2010 – $141 million.
- Economic costs, AL HB 56, June 9th, 2011 – Researchers estimated that HB 56 could cost the state nearly $11 billion in lost GDP, as much as $264.5 million in tax revenue, and as many as 140,000 jobs.
- Kobach helped create the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), a Muslim registry program launched under the Bush Administration and later disbanded.
- The former Kansas Secretary of State told a group of Republicans gathered in Manhattan for their 2017 state convention that he had been advising President Trump on methods to overcome federal court rulings blocking the administration’s first executive order related to the ban on travel from seven Muslim majority countries.
- Kobach spoke at the annual white nationalist Writers’ Workshop in 2015. The event is organized by Tanton’s white nationalist publishing house The Social Contract Press.
- Kobach’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign was a recipient of Tanton’s US Immigration Reform PAC.
- Kobach hosted a weekly radio show where he promoted his anti-immigrant views:
- Kobach alluded to the possibility that that there could be an ethnic cleansing by Latino immigrants in the U.S., under the Obama Administration, who he said “disregards the law.”
- On the Gold Star Khan Family: “It is maddening to be lectured about our Constitution and about what American law should be by aliens in the United States.”
- Kobach has advocated for the dismantling of the 14th Amendment, which grants birthright citizenship: “Any justice who sought to come to the conclusion that the Constitution requires citizenship for the children of illegal aliens would have to explain what the words ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof’ mean, and that’s a very difficult task for them to do.”
Attacks on DACA
- Kobach, who is a close ally to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Governor Greg Abbott, drafted Crane v. Napolitano, the suit that pitted ICE against President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012 and set the stage for United States v. Texas.
- In July 2017 Kobach praised the Texas led letter to The Washington Times: “The cases are nearly identical. It’s a clear winner for the states, and I’m very happy Texas has sent this letter.”
Attacks on TPS
- In a 2017 interview with Breitbart after the Trump Administration ended TPS for Haitians, Kobach affirmed, “The fact that people are talking about finding a ‘permanent solution’ illustrates that they see TPS as de facto amnesty because they’re looking for a way to keep TPS recipients in the United States. That is a gross abuse of our laws. TPS was never intended to be used like this.”
- In the same interview, Kobach was critical of the Trump Administration’s decision to give Haitians with TPS a limited amount of time to pack up their lives, stating, “President Trump’s core message is restoring the Rule of Law in immigration and the law demands that the TPS program only be used temporarily and only during a period where it is unsafe for foreign nationals to return to their country. That is not the case with Haiti.”
- In a November 2017 article for Breitbart, Kobach was critical of the Trump Administration’s decision to extend TPS for Hondurans for six months. Kobach opined, “It is an absurd abuse of the law to continue extending the Honduran illegal aliens’ stay in the United States when an entire generation of Hondurans has been born since the hurricane….By ignoring the fact that it was safe for Hondurans to return, the Obama administration transformed the Honduran TPS designation into a de facto amnesty – extending it again and again. We expected the Trump administration to return sanity to the TPS program. But, sadly, this recent decision continues the Obama administration’s abuse of the law.”