Monday, January 15, 2007

U.S. Nativist Watch: Kris Kobach

It was no mistake that the immigration debate in this country took a hard turn to the right last year following the marches and rallies held in March and April by the families and supporters of human rights. The GOP-led Congress at the time responded by holding a series of sham "townhall meetings" in various cities, inviting vigilante group leaders and hardline-supporters of nativist sentiment. One of the biggest cogs in that wheel was/is Kris Kobach.

An apprentice of uber-nativist Samuel Huntington, Kobach enjoys prominent media attention as a voice of opposition to comprehensive immigration reform as well as a loyal agent to the neocon wing of BushCo in the War on Terror™. As I was working on this write-up, he appeared on MSNBC to support the reprehensible remarks by Pentagon official Charles Stimson to organize a boycott of law firms working pro bono for Guantanamo detainees.

A former counsel to Attorney General John Ashcroft, and 2004 GOP Candidate for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District (he lost to Democrat Dennis Moore due to his extreme views), Kobach is now teaching Constitutional Law, Immigration Law, American Legal History and Legislation at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.

The local independent paper in Kansas City, The Pitch, recently offered a lengthy write-up on the controversy being waged on Kobach's campus - including the circulation of a one-page flier (.pdf file) outlining the biased professor's views. Here are a couple of examples:
Kobach says he'd already been considering the basics of a program that would come to be known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. NSEERS mandated that men from certain Arab and Muslim nations be photographed and fingerprinted when they arrived in the United States. Men from these countries who were already U.S. residents had to register. NSEERS also required that they be interviewed 30 days after they entered the country, that they notify the Immigration and Naturalization Service if they changed their address, and that they present themselves for an annual interview while they remained on American soil.
Racial Profiling - Check
The NSEERS program wasn't Kobach's only foray into federal policy. In 2002, he led a reform effort that reduced the number of judges who heard immigration appeals from 23 to 11. To keep up with the increasing number of cases, the smaller cadre of judges began issuing one-line opinions in response to complex legal decisions.
Working to further destroy the immigration process instead of beefing it up - Check

Now, two years after he went down to electoral defeat, Kobach has taken a central role with FAIR.

After 9/11, a Washington, D.C., lawyer named Mike Hethmon took over FAIR's legal department. Ashcroft's young immigration counsel caught Hethmon's attention as a potential ally.

In the past two years, Hethmon and Kobach have become a legal team working to shift the federal immigration debate to states and cities. Hethmon is director and general counsel of FAIR's Immigration Reform Law Institute; Kobach, a senior counsel on paid retainer, is second-in-command.

Ties to the white-supremacy network - Check

Since I'm sure this piece will probably attract the attention of some of FAIR's supporters, or maybe even Kobach himself, let's hear what the Southern Poverty Law Center has to say about the organization that the professor works diligently in support of:

(from a 2004 SPLC Intelligence Report)
  • FAIR worked closely with a hate group, the American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF), to pay signature-gatherers for the referendum. Together, they spent $305,500. Like Abernethy, aicf's leader, John Vinson, is an adviser to the CCC, a group that has described blacks as a "retrograde species of humanity." FAIR has not criticized Vinson in any way.
  • FAIR worked with aicf in another group, the Coalition for the Future of the American Worker (CFAW), that recently ran harsh anti-immigration ads in a Texas congressional race. Both the Republican and the Democratic campaigns in that race have denounced the ads as racially inflammatory and asked that television stations not run them. cfaw's president is FAIR Executive Director Dan Stein.
  • FAIR's Western Regional Coordinator, Rick Oltman, is a member of the CCC, according to that group's own newspaper. Oltman shared the podium with Abernethy at a 1997 CCC conference.
  • In September 2002, FAIR's Eastern Regional Coordinator, Jim Stadenraus, participated in a Long Island anti-immigration conference with Jared Taylor, a CCC board member and the founder and head of another hate group, the New Century Foundation.
  • FAIR's Dan Stein is an editorial adviser to The Social Contract, a journal that is published by a hate group and has featured articles by Abernethy. The journal is edited by Wayne Lutton, another adviser to the CCC.
  • FAIR cites on its Web site a man named Fred Elbel, who is PAN's webmaster and also heads the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform — another group which Abernethy advises. Elbel is tied to FAIR founder John Tanton.
Like most nativists, Kris Kobach scoffs at being labeled racist - yet he is the architect of the surge of local level anti-immigrant and anti-Latino legislation that began in Hazelton, Pennsylvania.

In November, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta told CBS' 60 Minutes that the aim of the ordinance was simple: "I'm going to eliminate illegal aliens from the city of Hazleton."

Kobach is helping him do it.

"We looked at the Hazleton ordinance and said, 'Uh oh,'" Hethmon recalls. "The idea was great, the concept was absolutely valid, but it was clearly drafted by some average folks sitting around a table. So we brought the issue up with Kris immediately."

Hethmon and Kobach quickly created a model ordinance. By the end of 2006, about 50 municipalities had passed or were considering similar legislation.

Kris Kobach is one of those dangerous propaganda organs who looks good on paper due to his Ivy League education - but his actions have led to the restriction of opportunity for countless families across the United States. Here is an excerpt from an opinion piece he wrote for the Heritage Foundation late last year in response to the comprehensive immigration bill in the Senate.
Furthermore, the DREAM Act makes it absurdly easy for just about any illegal alien—even one who does not qualify for the amnesty—to evade the law. According to Section 624(f), once an alien files an application—any application, no matter how ridic­ulous—the federal government is prohibited from deporting him. Moreover, with few exceptions, fed­eral officers are prohibited from either using infor­mation from the application to deport the alien or sharing that information with another federal agency, under threat of up to $10,000 fine.

Thus, an alien’s admission that he has violated federal immigration law cannot be used against him—even if he never had any chance of qualify­ing for the DREAM Act amnesty in the first place. The DREAM Act also makes illegal aliens eligible for various federal student loans and work-study programs.
You would think a professor would advocate for people to get an education instead of spending every waking moment denying it to the wrong type of person. It is this type of behavior that has led groups such as the The Hispanic Bar Association of Greater Kansas City, the MoKan chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the local Coalition of Hispanic Organizations to lobby the Dean of UMKC's Law School to express their outrage at his dual role of anti-immigrant crusader and professor of Immigration Law.

Speaking during his 2004 Congressional Campaign, Kris Kobach had this to say "I think anyone who knows me knows that I'm pretty thick-skinned. And I certainly hope I have been humble."

I dunno about you, but I don't think he knows the true meaning of the word "humble".

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