MEET KRIS KOBACH…. I’ll look forward to hearing conservatives who are defending Arizona’s new immigration law respond to these new revelations, published yesterday by Andrea Nill.
[Thursday], Arizona lawmakers made a handful of changes to the immigration bill Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) recently signed into effect that appear to be in response to many of the criticisms aimed at the bill. One of those changes replaces the phrase “lawful contact” with “lawful stop, detention or arrest” to “apparently clarify that officers don’t need to question a victim or witness about their legal status.” However, the legislature also implemented a third change that some call “frightening.” As part of the amended bill, a police officer responding to city ordinance violations would also be required to determine the immigration status of an individual they have reasonable suspicion of being an undocumented immigrant.
Wonk Room recently obtained an email written by Kris Kobach, a lawyer at the Immigration Reform Law Institute — the group which credits itself with writing the bill — to Arizona state Sen. Russell Pierce (R), urging him to include language that will allow police to use city ordinance violations such as “cars on blocks in the yard” as an excuse to “initiate queries” in light of the “lawful contact” deletion.
As Ezra Klein explained, “[Q]uite explicitly, Kobach is editing the bill to make it easier for police to dream up legal pretexts to hassle brown people about their citizenship.”
In case Kris Kobach’s name sounds familiar, he used to serve as the chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, where he boasted about his aggressive — and successful — “voter caging” efforts. And if you’ve forgotten, vote caging is “an illegal trick to suppress minority voters (who tend to vote Democrat) by getting them knocked off the voter rolls if they fail to answer registered mail sent to homes they aren’t living at (because they are, say, at college or at war).”
Less than three years later, he’s crafting and manipulating Arizona’s immigration laws to make harassment of minorities easier. Quite a guy.