Join us in congratulating Kris Kobach for winning the Anti-Immigrant Grinch of the Year award for 2011.
Kobach beat out some tough competition to take home this infamous prize. After SB1070 passed 2010 was the year that propelled him into the spotlight. In 2011, though, he went one better, writing Alabama’s HB56—the harshest anti-immigrant bill to date. Additionally, Kobach has also used his political power as secretary of state in Kansas to wage assaults on civil liberties in Kansas.
Let’s take a look back at some of Kobach’s Grinch-iest moments of 2011:
- As mentioned, Kobach authored HB56, which was signed into law in Alabama earlier this year. The law has dozens of stipulations that make it impossible for the undocumented to apply for driver’s licenses, jobs, or even conduct business transactions. Thousands of immigrants have left the state, the number of children attending schools has dropped significantly, and the state’s agricultural sector is in crisis. The governor of Alabama has already distanced himself from the law he signed just months ago, but despite all of this, Kobach keeps smiling. In a recent article, he stated, “I just soldier on because I know what I’m doing is right, and I’m going to keep on doing it.”
- Kobach was elected Kansas’s secretary of state in late 2010, and since taking office earlier this year he has used his position to attack civil liberties in the state—all in the name “voter fraud.” Kobach’s office drafted the “Kansas’s Secure and Fair Elections Act,” which requires that all voters in Kansas now have a valid ID with them in order to vote, that absentee voters must present a drivers license number, and that they have their signature verified. This Act will actually DECREASE the number of people voting in the state—an achievement that stands in direct opposition to what an elected secretary of state is tasked with. People of color, the elderly, and students alike will be most impacted by the new ID law. The issue of voter fraud was at the epicenter of Kobach’s campaign, but according to his numbers only 221 suspected cases of fraud have occurred out of the millions of votes cast in his state between 1997 and 2010. Clearly, voter fraud is NOT an issue in Kansas.
- Despite being elected secretary of state, Kobach has continued his work with the nativist Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) which was founded by white nationalist John Tanton. Kobach continued to defend anti-immigrant ordinances on behalf of IRLI throughout 2011 in places such as Hazelton, PA, Freemont, NE, and Farmers Branch, TX.
- Kobach was given a $5000 fine for inaccurately reporting more than $75,000 in contributions and expenditures from his 2010 election cycle. Instead of accepting the fine and admitting his mistakes, Kobach decided to go down the conspiratorial path, ranting about the “anti-conservative bias among some members of the commission.” Right.
And so, Kobach deserves his prize of a lump of coal for the devastating impacts he has wrought on thousands of immigrants, devastations that he looks set to propel across 2012, as well.