Earlier today, GOP nominee Mitt Romney announced the support of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, whose anti-immigrant policies have become something of a novelty for conservatives. But Kobach’s association with the Republican Party is nominal, instead identifying more with hard-line nativism than this country’s conventional right wing.
Kobach’s job is to write legislation—most of which has been used to intimidate immigrants and people of color. While hoping to deprive minorities of their civil liberties, as well as a number of other questionable pursuits, Kobach has branded himself as the poster-child of the Republican platform.
But he shouldn’t fool anyone. Here are ten reasons why Romney should drop Kobach’s endorsement:
10. Kobach is a lawyer for the anti-immigrant law firm Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Both of these organizations were founded by the white nationalist, John Tanton, whose legacy has been hard to shake. FAIR has solicited and received money from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation that finances pseudo-scientific ventures attempting to prove the genetic superiority of white, European-descended peoples.
9. During his ill-fated 2004 Congressional campaign, Kobach accepted $10,000 from the US Immigration Reform PAC. The PAC was founded by Mary Lou Tanton, the wife of white nationalist John Tanton, the architect of the modern day anti-immigrant movement.
8. Kobach often defends accusations of bigotry by noting his mission trips to Africa through his church. His church, according to Religious Dispatches, is “part of the Anglican Mission of the Americas.” This is sponsored the extremely homophobic Church of Rwanda. Religious Dispatches goes further, detailing comments made by the Church of Rwanda’s former Archbishop who “likened homosexuality to moral genocide.”
7. Kobach’s work at IRLI has also led him to write and defend anti-immigrant ordinances in small towns across America. In many cases, these ordinances have cost the towns millions of dollars in legal fees, with the bill going to the town’s residents. The increases in taxes to help fund the ordinances defense don’t really fall in line with the “fiscal responsibility” the GOP has prided itself on.
6. Kobach was recently fined $5000 for inaccurately reporting campaign funds. Instead of accepting the fine and moving on, Kobach started spouting conspiracy theories, blaming “anti-conservative bias among some members of the commission.”
5. In 2009, Kobach was hired by notorious Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to train his deputies in immigration matters. The Department of Justice recently released a report on Arpaio’s office which concluded that the office’s “discriminatory treatment of Latinos reflects a general culture of bias within MCSO.”
4. While working with IRLI Kobach has helped to draft two of the harshest anti-immigrant laws in the country, namely Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56, two laws that have stripped the basic civil and human rights of immigrants and people of color in those states. While Kobach has proclaimed total victory, these laws have proven to be extremely divisive.
3. Kobach has frequently spoken of his desire to “restore the original meaning” of the 14th Amendment. The original meaning in Kobach’s eyes would be an end to birthright citizenship in the United States, an issue that Romney has not taken a stand on as of yet.
2. Kobach is a former Department of Justice employee who created a program titled the “National Security Entry-Exit Registration System.” The program “required individuals from more than 20 predominantly Arab countries to register with the government on arrival and departure from the U.S.” It was abandoned in 2011 after years of criticism for its discriminatory policies.
1. Kobach defended the Apartheid policy in South Africa in a 1990 book. He stated, “Clearly, reform has become the clarion call of so many businesses because it is seen as a means of achieving stability. Yet, strict Verwoerdian apartheid enforced with an iron fist can also be seen as a route to a more stable South Africa. ”