Immigration

Nebraska Town has Opportunity to Overthrow Disastrous Kobach Ordinance


Jill Garvey • Feb 10, 2014

By all accounts Kris Kobach is a dismal Secretary of State. We’re talking epically bad. Unlike presumably all other secretaries of states throughout the country, he’s bad on purpose. If Kobach was good at his job that would mean upholding a fair and equal voting system in his state. And Kobach doesn’t want voting to be fair and equal. So Kobach, Kansas’ Secretary of State, is intentionally horrible at the job he is paid to do by taxpayers.

Despite his loathsome track record at home, he has still been able to export his disastrous policies to cities and states across America. Fremont, Nebraska is a perfect example of a town that’s currently embroiled in a bitter battle as a result of Kobach’s meddling. But tomorrow Fremont has a chance to send Kobach packing.

Back in 2008, Kobach introduced and helped pass an ordinance that bans landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants, requires all renters to get occupancy licenses from the police department and requires businesses to use the federal e-verify system. The ordinance, especially the housing portion, has been hotly contested among residents since its introduction.

Kobach has a lengthy career with the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). FAIR was founded by white nationalist John Tanton.

Tanton has a long history of working with well-known white nationalist leaders and organizations across the nation. Tanton’s closest brush with organized racism came when FAIR accepted $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund to support its work. The Pioneer Fund is notorious for its theories about the genetic superiority of white European Americans.

There is no discernible benefit to the community from this ordinance. All it does is stir up racial hatreds, much like the unconstitutional laws that Kobach helped advance elsewhere – most notably Arizona’s racist Senate Bill 1070.

Anti-immigrant groups are using communities like Fremont to push for more restrictive immigration policies nationally with little regard for the costs – socially and economically – to its residents.

With divisive battles raging from Fremont to Texas to Pennsylvania, Kobach happily continues to whittle away at the rights of the people he is supposed to protect in Kansas. Fremonters have a chance to repeal the housing portion of the ordinance this Tuesday during a special vote. Perhaps the only thing better than doing away with such an awful policy is the opportunity to send Kobach packing. That would be one way to serve as a positive model for other communities targeted by Kobach.

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