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As a reminder, Kris Kobach is the mastermind behind “papers, please” anti-immigrant laws in states like Alabama and Arizona. He has a long track record of opposing positive immigration reforms—including those that would benefit U.S. citizens.
Some may remember that when the Utah state immigration bill became law last year, it was almost immediately stoppered up by a district court, preventing the legislation from going into effect. Provisions requiring local police to check the legal status of detained persons went un-enacted, but so did provisions that would have given immigrants already in the state a path toward legalization.
Many opponent groups—and several foreign countries—filed briefs standing against Utah’s law. But when Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (R) received a brief taking his side, supporting the law, Shurtleff effectively said “thanks. But no thanks.”
Why? The brief was filed by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). FAIR is designated as a “nativist hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center and is closely affiliated with Kobach.
Shurtleff said that support from IRLI could actually be “harmful” to his case and reportedly called the Institute to leave a “terse” message once he heard of the brief.
“We do not need the amicus support of IRLI — but we cannot prevent parties from filing them,” Shurtleff said. “It should be clear that they do not represent the state nor any public official.” He also added that having FAIR’s involvement “plays into the false notion that our law is as bad as every other state’s law” — that is enforcement-only.