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GOP Wraps Up Week of Anti-Immigrant Hearings with Star Turn By Kris Kobach

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As First Act Presiding over Judiciary Subcomittee Hearing, Ted Cruz Puts Forward Mastermind of “Self-Deportation,” AL & AZ “Papers Please” Laws, and Legal Attack on President’s Executive Actions

Today, Republicans are wrapping up this week’s cavalcade of anti-immigrant hearings, with no less than anti-immigrant hardliner Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) bringing in the “genius” behind “self-deportation,” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, as their closing act.

Today’s hearing (titled, “Reining in Amnesty: Texas v. United States and Its Implications”) will be Senator Cruz’s first time presiding over a Judiciary subcommittee.  With his eyes set on the 2016 presidential race, what better way for Senator Cruz to show what he and other anti-immigrant hardliners have in store for immigrant families than to call on Kobach as his star witness?

Besides being the chief architect of Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” platform, Kobach also co-authored notoriously anti-immigrant, “papers, please” laws in Alabama and Arizona.  While Latino, Asian, and immigrant voters soundly rejected Romney, and portions of those laws were later found unconstitutional by the courts, Kobach’s fingerprints are now all over the lawsuit brought by Republicans Governors against President Obama’s executive actions.

Most recently, Kobach has been under fire from his own constituents, notably Kansas Senate Minority leader Anthony Hensley, who called on Kobach to resign after he seemingly agreed with a caller to his radio show who predicted that President Obama will stop prosecuting African-Americans for crimes.  Print hasn’t been any kinder to Kobach either, who was recently assailed in a home state newspaper editorial for blaming voter fraud on non-citizens, while having absolutely zero proof to back up his dubious claim.

It was just two years ago this week that the Republican National Committee issued its autopsy of the 2012 election, which condemned the policy and politics inherent to Kobach’s self-deportation strategy and larger worldview.  Yet today, Kobach is back in a starring role thanks to his Republican allies.

Pro-immigration reformers know the Republican Party stands little chance of surviving on a national scale without first offering an olive branch to the Latino community.  But, that’s not happening with Republicans on Capitol Hill, as evidenced by the repeated anti-immigrant votes and the six anti-immigrant hearings this week alone.  Instead it’s hardliners such as Senator Cruz, Jeff Sessions, who controls the Twitter handle @ImmigrationGOP, and Steve King who are dictating the GOP’s immigration platform.  And, once again, Kris Kobach is ready to play a starring role in helping craft the GOP’s immigration strategy again in 2016 – and with it, the Republican Party’s brand image to Latino voters.