Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is the self-styled leader of the dwindling anti-immigrant movement. After the Arizona and Alabama laws he crafted were found mostly unconstitutional (except for their “show me your papers” provisions), Kobach launched a new vendetta. This time, he’s going after DREAMers, in the form of a lawsuit seeking to end Obama’s new DREAM relief program (also known as DACA).
Earlier this week, Mississippi’s GOP Governor, Phil Bryant, joined Kobach’s lawsuit against DACA. That development gave Kobach another opportunity to spout off his extreme views on the immigration issue, and he came up with one of the most offensive mischaracterizations we’ve seen from him. Kobach accused most DREAMers of being criminals:
Kobach characterizes DACA applicants as people who are a drain on the country.
“Most of the individuals who qualify who are encountered by ICE are already in the penal system,” he says, noting that he is not referring to those who come forward now to apply. “A very high percentage (of DACA immigrants) is within the jail system.”
Where on earth did Kobach pull that from? What reports or statistics is Kobach using to back up that whopper of an assertion? Does he even know that there are restrictions on who can and can’t apply–that undocumented youth become ineligible if they’ve been convicted of a felony offense or serious misdemeanor (or too many misdemeanor offenses)? Is Kobach just going off on another fact-free hate-filled rant?
This isn’t coming from just another run-of-the-mill anti-immigrant nut. Kobach is one of the anti-immigrant “leaders” in the Republican party. More importantly, he’s an advisor to Romney on immigration issues and he wrote the harsh anti-immigrant provisions in the GOP platform.
Of course, this leaves us wondering where Mitt Romney stands on what his advisor said about DREAMers. Mitt lets Kobach dictate his harsh immigration policy. Does he share this warped, false view of these young people? Is this why Romney said he will discontinue the DACA program if he becomes President — a move that would be devastating for over one million young people? Does Romney also think most of the DREAMers are “already in the penal system” and that “a very high percentage” are in jails?
Kobach is wrong on the facts and the policy. Eighty percent of Americans disagree with him on the DREAM relief policy. Last month, a CNN/ORC poll on immigration policy found that with respect to the DACA program, a whopping 64% of registered voters said the new policy was “about right,” while 15% said it does not go far enough. Only 18% said the program goes too far. There aren’t many issues that garner 80% support from the American people, but the DREAM relief policy does.
Why? Because most Americans–unlike Kobach–understand that DREAMers are aspiring citizens who are Americans in all but paperwork, who have lived in this country nearly their whole lives and only want to give back to the country they call home. Those are the young people who are DACA applicants–not whoever Kobach is imagining.
Kobach panders to the worst of the worst. And Romney is following his lead.