Tomorrow night, Tuesday, April 12th, the poison scribe of the anti-immigrant movement, Kris Kobach, the man who wrote SB 1070, is set to deliver a speech he’s entitled, “State and Local Law Discouraging Illegal Immigration: Their Economic and Security Impact,” on the campus of Kansas University. (See below for event info.)
Long “The Golden Boy” of far-right hardliners seeking out a legal mouthpiece, Kobach’s luster has been flaking to expose some serious rusting. To borrow from Chinua Achebe, things are rather beginning to fall apart.
Kobach was set to receive a $10,000 honorarium for his lecture, but the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission has objected on state precedent. According to this source, “Ethics Commission Attorney Judy Moler said in her draft opinion Kobach’s proposed talk did not appear to be within his duties as Kansas Secretary of State.”
The commission vote was unanimous against Kobach.
Kansas’s much maligned Secretary of State must now speak for free, but don’t weep just yet. Unlike many Americans, he and his won’t be filing into any local unemployment offices anytime soon.
As has been the evolution of Kobach’s career:
- The Federal Elections Commission has focused on Kobach over the last month. While running the KS GOP, he accepted “$52,000 in illegal contributions from businesses and failed to appropriately disclose $104,000 in expenditures,” and, “At one point, the state GOP failed to pay state and federal taxes.”
- Kobach has long worked as legal counsel for Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which was founded by white nationalist John Tanton. Both groups are a part of the larger John Tanton Network and work in partnership with fellow Network stalwarts State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI). Due to the players within said groups and their persistent attacks on the 14th Amendment, many human rights organizations nationwide denounce them as espousers of bigotry
- FAIR, SLLI, and Kobach love to prattle on about how “illegals” are the biggest fiscal drain on hard working Americans. However, after years of seeing Farmers Branch, TX – where Kobach spent years failing to draft anti-immigrant legislation – abused by Kobach and FAIR, former city council member Carol Dingman wrote to a reporter at the Sand Mountain Reporter:
…Our mayor said he was an expert in immigration law who would help the city on a pro bono basis. [….] We will have paid almost $4 million in legal fees at the end of this fiscal year (Sept 30, 2010) […] Mr. Kobach was paid $100,000 of that [….] Kobach is closely connected with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), whose agenda is to use cities and states to test out their immigration legislation to see if it is constitutional [….] this fight has really changed the atmosphere of our town. We’ve always had a small-town feel and this issue has destroyed it. It has ruined our reputation.
- In four small American towns alone, Farmers Branch among them, Kobach has run a 6.6 million dollar tab in legal retainer fees that have been passed on to tax-payers. For their money, not one single draft of his legislation passed as Constitutional. In Maricopa County, AZ, he was contracted for $300 an hour.
- So severe is his record of failure in those towns, many are now lining up to protest against their towns or counties hiring this bigot. And now the towns and counties are listening. The state of Nebraska decided resoundingly against him— rejecting Kobach’s Arizona-style law introduced by state Sen. Janssen from Fremont. Last year, Albertville, Alabama’s city council voted not to allow Kobach to represent the town. One councilperson said, “The advice I have gotten from towns which passed similar resolutions said they would not do it again.”
- In the past Kansas Republican Leaders have criticized Kobach, and they’re continuing to take a hard stance. This year, in fact, two of his most recent pieces of “Arizona-style” legislation were met with near-immediate defeats.
And so goes the dying glow of an anti-immigrant supernova, which perhaps explains why KU is forcing attendees to submit all questions to a screening process prior to tomorrow night’s Q&A session with Kobach.
Anyone in Lawrence who is concerned about Kobach’s agenda to dehumanize immigrants should show up and help expose Kobach and his connections to FAIR. Contact KU’s Toni Dixon by email firstname.lastname@example.org and phone (785) 864-4449 to tell KU that you don’t appreciate them providing a platform for one of our country’s most active bigots.