Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 1, 2010

MEET KRIS KOBACH.... I'll look forward to hearing conservatives who are defending Arizona's new immigration law respond to these new revelations, published yesterday by Andrea Nill.

[Thursday], Arizona lawmakers made a handful of changes to the immigration bill Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) recently signed into effect that appear to be in response to many of the criticisms aimed at the bill. One of those changes replaces the phrase "lawful contact" with "lawful stop, detention or arrest" to "apparently clarify that officers don't need to question a victim or witness about their legal status." However, the legislature also implemented a third change that some call "frightening." As part of the amended bill, a police officer responding to city ordinance violations would also be required to determine the immigration status of an individual they have reasonable suspicion of being an undocumented immigrant.

Wonk Room recently obtained an email written by Kris Kobach, a lawyer at the Immigration Reform Law Institute -- the group which credits itself with writing the bill -- to Arizona state Sen. Russell Pierce (R), urging him to include language that will allow police to use city ordinance violations such as "cars on blocks in the yard" as an excuse to "initiate queries" in light of the "lawful contact" deletion.

As Ezra Klein explained, "[Q]uite explicitly, Kobach is editing the bill to make it easier for police to dream up legal pretexts to hassle brown people about their citizenship."

In case Kris Kobach's name sounds familiar, he used to serve as the chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, where he boasted about his aggressive -- and successful -- "voter caging" efforts. And if you've forgotten, vote caging is "an illegal trick to suppress minority voters (who tend to vote Democrat) by getting them knocked off the voter rolls if they fail to answer registered mail sent to homes they aren't living at (because they are, say, at college or at war)."

Less than three years later, he's crafting and manipulating Arizona's immigration laws to make harassment of minorities easier. Quite a guy.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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Is it just my imagination, but of late Johm McCain is hiding away, not getting into the Arizona immigration conversations, also drill baby drill McCain is also silent about the oil disaster!
Just thinking!

Posted by: jJS on May 1, 2010 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

so the Repugnants are getting more and more police state and medieval... meanwhile the Dims are still sternly-wording letters and/or seeking bipartisanship...

i keep getting this really bad feeling lately...
everyday it gets more intense.

today i see VA's AG is going after climate scientists...

Posted by: neill on May 1, 2010 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Kobach is not just a pioneer in vote caging. He is running for Secretary of State. He is too scary to win the KS 03 congressional seat that Dennis Moore is retiring from because the only people voting in that election are relatively sane Kansas City suburbanites. But statewide? He can win because the crazy fuckers out in the Big Red One that goes all the way to Colorado and where cows outnumber people by 50:1, find him their kind of people.

Posted by: Blue Girl on May 1, 2010 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

That was the whole purpose behind the 'zona law according to Greg Palast.

The 'Zona GOP is freaking out that brown people are on the verge of outnumbering the old white people turning a solid "red" state into a brown state that leans "blue."

Posted by: Former Dan on May 1, 2010 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

STOP... step back and look at the numbers.... 460,000 is the number of illegal immigrants in Az. The population of Az is about 6.5 million... this means that about one of every 15 people in Az is an undocumented immigrant...

But is this correct? Since most of the illegal immigrants are men... and about 1/2 the population in Az are men this means when you meet a man in Az there is a one in seven chance he is an illegal alien...

The odds drop even further to about 1 in 5 when you cut out kids and old men from this equation because they are a very low percent of illegal immigrants...

and if you throw in hispanic hertiage... well you get the idea..

So where are they? I mean catching an illegal immigrant ought to be really easy... but they only catch a very few... by comparison...

i think the numbers are inflated and wrong. I reviewed the methology the INS uses and it seems logical my experience and those of my friends and coworkers, which comprises a nice cross-section of our society, does not mesh with the theory.

There is profit in inflated numbers - and all I am saying is stop and rethink and challenge their numbers as a way to defeat this assult.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on May 1, 2010 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl,
You beat me to the punch that Kobach is running for SOS. I hope he doesn't get elected. He's creepy.

Posted by: Jackie on May 1, 2010 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Kris Kobach of Kansas - a new face who dresses-up a century-old three letter momogram of intolerance, bigotry and racism.

Posted by: dcrolg on May 1, 2010 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

a police officer responding to city ordinance violations would also be required to determine the immigration status of an individual..

Perhaps officers should start patrolling around looking for improperly permitted or installed swimming pools and knocking on doors for i.d.

Posted by: oh my on May 1, 2010 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, from hence forth any reference to Arizona's bill from hell must be labeled the Kris Kobach bill. Make his name synonymous with this pile of shit. Do it for the reason Blue Girl makes up stream.

Posted by: Chopin on May 1, 2010 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmmmm. I think someone should start putting up signs in neighborhoods like those real estate signs. It should go something like.....

You think Kris Ken Kobach's bill sucks?
Wait till you elect Kris Ken Kobach SOS.

I don't give a flying fuck if his middle name isn't Ken. And make those K's really big and scary.

Posted by: Chopin on May 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

How about if I suggest that the whole "AZ Thing" is all about voter supression? Look at the "other" States that are considering the same tactics. The Repubs can't attract the Hispanics with ideology nor any worthwhile ideas so the preparation for the 2010 elections is to suppress.
Nothing new- typical RepubiCLAN! Fire up your base and try to intimidate your opponents. Nothing new.

Posted by: fillphil on May 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

way late here, but this is all about voter suppression...i've been thinking that arizona would be purple in 12 and blue [just like all its neighbors] by 16...but now, who can say? will there be a mass hispanic exodus?..in related news, because census returns are slow in ny, fla and other states with big hispanic populations, it's unclear whether arizona will pick up one house seat or two...

Posted by: dj spellchecka on May 1, 2010 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

And of course NPR's Talk of the Nation had Kobach on this week as the expert on this bill.

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Posted by: wzmhqgzydlp on May 1, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Kobach worked in the Ashcroft DOJ, where he was a vigorous advocate of ethnically profiling Muslims. The underlying legal theory has now evidently been generalized from the War on Terror to the mass deportation of HIspanics.

His Arizona work is in connection w/ the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of FAIR, which the SPLC has designated a hate group.

The misdirected email confirms that Kobach's private understanding of the law, & his intentions in drafting it, directly contradict his many public assurances regarding it.

Posted by: K on May 1, 2010 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK



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