All rumors indicate that a major executive announcement from President Obama on immigration is forthcoming, and anti-immigrant extremists are preparing their response. Members of Congress like Steve King and Marco Rubio are already threatening another government shutdown this fall if Obama takes action. And the anti-immigrant movement’s “go-to guy” on immigration-related lawsuits, Kris Kobach, is also scheming to “torpedo” the president’s plans.
We remember Kris Kobach. He’s the architect of Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56 laws, anti-immigrant bills which legalized discrimination and were largely struck down by the courts. This year, one of the laws Kobach has been pushing — a city ordinance that prohibits undocumented immigrants from renting housing in Fremont, Nebraska — was implemented after voters renewed their support for it in a referendum. And after deferred action/DACA was announced in 2012, Kobach teamed up with Chris Crane to sue the government to stop the program. A judge ruled, essentially, that Kobach and Crane were in the wrong court, but they appealed, and another decision is due next year.
It’s the appeal which Kobach is now hoping will kill DACA and any new executive action in one fell swoop. As Kobach told Reuters in an interview, executive action on immigration “just bothers me down to the very fiber of my being.”
But while Kobach is nationally known for his toxic, election-killing, anti-immigrant work, he also actually holds elected office as Kansas’ Secretary of State. Kobach is up for reelection this year, and the polls show that he’s not doing well. From SurveyUSA‘s latest findings:
In the contest for Secretary of State, incumbent Republican Kris Kobach and Democratic challenger Jean Schodorf are tied, 46% each. Kobach leads by 10 points among men. Schodorf leads by 9 points among women, a 19-point gender gap. Kobach holds 81% of the Republican base. Schodorf holds 89% of the Democratic base. Both independents and moderates break for the Democrat.
It could end up being an interesting fall for Kobach, torn between his reelection campaign and the upcoming executive action that bothers the fibers of his being so much. Both Kobach’s GOP primary challenger (whom he defeated in early August) and Democrat Jean Schodorf have attacked Kobach for spending so much time on his extracurricular anti-immigrant activities, which have nothing to do with his duties as Kansas’ secretary of state. Kobach’s approval ratings have hovered in the 30s for years, and a coalition of Kansas progressives — Kansas People’s Action, MoveOn, KNEA, SEIU, CWA, UFCW, AFL-CIO, Sierra Club, faith communities, and others — are committed to his ouster.
It would be quite ironic if Kobach, busy torpedoing executive action, were to be Cantor’ed at home.