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New Republic: Why Kris Kobach's Reelection Race in Kansas is a Must-Watch

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In the immigration reform world, we know Kris Kobach well.  He was Mitt Romney’s immigration advisor and partly responsible for Romney’s ill-fated espousal of self-deportation.  He was the architect of incredibly anti-immigrant laws like Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56, which punitively targeted and terrorized immigrants before they were largely struck down by the Supreme Court.

This year, Kobach is up for reelection against Democratic challenger Jean Schodorf, and polling indicates that he could lose.  It would be a fitting consequence for a man whose challengers and constituents are frequently having to call him out for chasing his anti-immigrant vendetta across the US, rather than actually performing his duties as Kansas’ elected Secretary of State.  A hard line on voter ID laws that exclusively benefit Republicans has been another reason for national progressives to make Kobach a target.

A great profile at the New Republic today by John B. Judis has more about why Kobach needs to be defeated.  Read an excerpt below — or better yet, the full article here.  We fully agree with Judis when he writes that a defeat for Kobach would be a “victory for American democracy…Kobach is that bad.”

Ordinarily, a race like this would be irrelevant in national politics, but Kobach is a crusader against illegal immigrantsand, by extension, most immigrants not of European extractionand has used a minor state office to rewrite Kansas’s voting laws. He has long been associated with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an organization founded by a proponent of eugenics and population control and funded in part by the Pioneer Fund, an organization founded to promote “race betterment.” He is also quite effective, and even brilliant, at what he does…

Kobach [is] the senior counsel for FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute. He remains today their senior counsel. With FAIR, Kobach helped write Arizona’s highly discriminatory immigration law, which required police to demand proof of citizenship from anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally and advised other states, including Alabama, that have passed similar legislation. He also filed suit to prevent Kansas, Nebraska, and California from offering in-state college tuition to the children of undocumented immigrants, and he has defended laws in Nebraska, Texas, and Pennsylvania that would make it illegal to rent to undocumented immigrants…

If Schodorf does win, it will be a victory for American democracy and not simply the Democratic Party. Kobach is that bad. To be sure, there has always been a case to be made for better controlling American borders and for discouraging entry by undocumented workers, but Kobach’s position, like that of FAIR, edges into the dark corners of nativism. And his attempt to manipulate state election laws is quite simply an attempt to subvert the democratic process. Here’s to his defeat and banishment from elected office.