Trump policy adviser on immigration, and architect of some of the nation’s most draconian anti-immigrant and voter suppression laws
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has been a driving force in the Republican Party’s embrace of hardline nativist and voter suppression policies. For years, Kobach has been of counsel to the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), the legal arm of flagship anti-immigrant organization Federation for American Immigration Reform. As one of the organized anti-immigrant movement’s most active legal minds, Kobach has co-authored some of the country’s most draconian and destructive policies, including Arizona’s SB 1070. He also created a Muslim registry program after 9/11 and has advocated for policies to restrict voter turnout.
In May, Trump signed an executive order establishing The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to investigate alleged cases of voter fraud in the United States. Kobach serves as vice chair to the office under Vice President Mike Pence. Because in-person voter fraud is so exceedingly rare, the office will presumably serve as nothing more than a vehicle to advance voter suppression measures across the country.
On June 8, Kobach announced he would be running for governor of Kansas.
- Kobach helped create the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), a Muslim registry program launched under the Bush administration after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
- Kobach has added multiple bigoted planks to the GOP platform over the years, including an anti-Shariah position in 2012 and one advocating for a physical barrier across the entire southern border in 2016.
- Kobach spoke at the annual white nationalist Writers’ Workshop in 2015. The event is organized by the white nationalist publishing house Social Contract Press.
- He authored many of the country’s most strident anti-immigrant bills including Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56. Both measures had disastrous effects on local economies and portions of both were later ruled unconstitutional.
- Kobach defended discriminatory housing ordinances in Farmer’s Branch, Texas and Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which were later ruled unconstitutional and cost localities millions of dollars.
- He represented Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents in an unsuccessful lawsuit against Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that was funded by anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA.
- Since becoming Kansas Secretary of State, Kobach has implemented onerous proof-of-citizenship requirements that have prevented thousands of eligible Kansans from voting.
- Kobach’s office has similarly attempted to disenfranchise voters in other states through the error-prone Interstate Crosscheck system.
- Kobach boasted of his voter suppression efforts in a 2007 email to Kansas Republican Party members. “To date,” Kobach’s email read, “the Kansas GOP has identified and caged more voters in the last 11 months than the previous two years!”
- He has publicly worried that Latino immigrants could “overwhelm” whites and commit “ethnic cleansing.”
- In 2014, Kobach appeared on anti-Muslim figure Frank Gaffney’s radio show to promote unnecessary legislation aimed at banning Shariah law from state courts. “There is an effort going on below the radar to insert Shariah law-based defenses into court cases,” Kobach claimed.