Welcome to our online chat with Kris Kobach, one of three candidates running in Tuesday's 3rd Congressional District Republican primary.
The chat took place on Wednesday, July 28, at 12:30 p.m. and is now closed, but you can read the full transcript on this page.
Moderator: We'll start our chat with Kris Kobach in a few minutes. Thanks for joining us this afternoon.
Suzanne, Lawrence: Could you please state which issue is your priority? If it is illegal imigration, please state how effective you think you can be in protecting our country and securing our borders.
Kris Kobach: I have three priorities: returning the rule of law to immigration to better secure our borders against terrorism, passing the federal marriage amendment, and cutting federal taxes further.
On the subject of illegal immigration, I saw the flaws in our system when I served as Counsel to Attorney General John Ashcroft. We must enforce our immigration laws more vigorously. In order to do so, we must utilize the voluntary assistance of state and local law enforcement officers. In October 2003, I testified as an expert before the House Immigration Subcommittee in Congress on how can accomplish this. We must also deploy the national guard to protect our borders. I was interviewed by Bill O'Reilly on this subject recently. Readers can watch that interview via streaming video on my website at www.kobachforcongress.com. We must also close gaps in our immigration laws that allow terrorists to remain on American soil. It would take several pages for me to describe all of my ideas on that subject here. But readers can find out the details on my website under "issues." Finally, states must stop offering incentives to violate immigration laws--such as Kansas's grant of in-state tuition to illegal aliens. One of my opponents voted for that bill. I am currently leading a lawsuit to prevent it from taking effect.
Matt, Lawrenc: I do have one question. Welfare reform has been one of the greatest achievements over the last decade. However, we are in need of reform on the other end: corporate welfare reform. What would you do to reduce the amount of corporate welfare flowing from Washington?
Kris Kobach: One way to reduce "corporate welfare" (and people use this phrase to refer to different things) is to stop spending money on pork barrel projects designed to reward corporations in the states of powerful Members of Congress. For example, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia has sent millions upon millions of our tax dollars to fund useless highway projects in his state. When I was working in Washington DC, I had occasion to see one of Byrd's pork projects. It is a 10 mile section of superhighway through rugged mountain terrain. Amazingly, the highway goes from nowhere to nowhere, and it does not connect to any other interstate highways. It goes past the town of "Needmore" (I'm not kidding!).
Dan, Lawrence: Mr. Kobach, how do you justify prioritizing (and thus spending valuable legislative time in Congress) the passage of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, while the federal deficit continues to soar and health care continues to climb out of reach of "average" Americans? What "danger" do same-sex marriages pose to you and I, and our fellow Americans? I would like to see some specific, factual answers, rather than general, undefinable terms such as "family values" and the "sanctity" of marriage (especially when almost half of all marriages in the United States currently end in divorce).
Kris Kobach: The lack of a Federal Marriage Amendment means that gay marriages recognized by Massachusetts will have full legal effect here in Kansas. This is due to the fact that the "Full Faith and Credit Clause" of Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution requires Kansas Courts to recognize the legal effect of marriages in other states.
The dangers that the legal recognition of gay marriage pose are numerous, but here are two of the most significant consequences:
(1) Out-of-wedlock births will skyrocket. We have seen this happen in the countries of Scandinivia, which de facto recognized gay marriage in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Now, more than half of all Scandinavian births are outside of marriage. This is what happens when marriage is "defined down" so that it means nothing in particular. If marriage can mean anything, marriage means nothing.
(2) Adoption. Once courts are compelled to recognize gay marriage as the legal equivalent of traditional marriage, then gay couples will be able to adopt children on equal footing with traditional couples. Socialogical and psychological studies demonstrate conclusively that this is bad for the children. Children raised by gay couples are more likely to become involved in drugs or crime, less likely to graduate from high school and are exposed to all kinds of psychological stress.
Todd, Lawrence : Why shouldn't any student who graduates from a Kansas high school be permitted to pay in-state tuition?
Kris Kobach: As you probably know, I am representing 24 students and parents who pay out-of-state tuition at Kansas universities in a lawsuit challenging the recently-enacted Kansas law that gives in-state tuition to illegal aliens. There are several reasons why this Kansas law is illegal, unwise, and unfair:
(1) It violates federal law. In 1996, Congress passed two statutes that prohibit any state from giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens. In passing this law, Governor Sebelius and the Kansas Legislature have violated these federal statutes.
(2) It handsomely rewards illegal immigration. Amazingly, the Kansas law says that any foreign student who plays by the rules and gets a student visa must pay out-of-state tuition! The message that we are sending is: "In Kansas we reward you for breaking the law, if you follow the law, it will cost you thousands of dollars a year." Talk about twisted incentives....
(3) It's unfair to U.S. Citizens who follow the law. Take KU as an example. A student from KC, MO who has always followed the law must pay approximately $12,300 a year in tuition and fees. In contrast, a student whose very presence in the United States is a violation of federal criminal law is rewarded with a subsidized tuition rate of $4,500 a year. One of the plaintiffs in our lawsuit is a woman who has lived in Kansas for five years. She earned her BA at KU, and stayed at KU for graduate school. She votes in Kansas and pays income taxes in Kansas. She intends to stay in Kansas after finishing school. But because she has not worked in Kansas for a continuous 12-month period, she must pay out-of-state tuition. That is unfair.
(4) It will cost Kansas taxpayers a ton of money. The KC Star has estimated that 2,000 illegal aliens may take advantage of this subsidy every year. That will cost Kansas taxpayers over $15 million a year. Even if only 500 aliens took advantage of this subsidy, it would cost us over $3 million a year. We simply can't afford it. As you may know, we are already breaking the backs of students at KU by hiking tuition--it went up another 18% this year. It is absurd to be taking on another major financial burden at this time. And some of that burden may be borne by the other students, as tuition continues to rise.
(5) It violates the U.S. Constitution. The Equal Protection Clause prohibits states from discriminating against U.S. Citizens in favor of illegal aliens.
Mark, Lawrence: I'm wondering how your campaign would change if you win the primary and move on to face Dennis Moore. How does defeating fellow Republicans compare with taking on a targeted Democrat? Specifically, what changes would you make?
Kris Kobach: My message will remain the same. I will continue to focus on (1) returning the rule of law to immigration to better secure our borders against terrorism, (2) passing the federal marriage amendment, and (3) cutting federal taxes further.
What will change is the nature of my opponent. Although my two Republican opponents are liberal on the majority of issues, Dennis Moore is even further to the left. He has a long record of liberal votes in Congress, including opposing the President's tax cuts in 2003, voting against the Boy Scouts, voting against a ban on human cloning, voting against a ban on partial birth abortion (four times), and voting against the interests of small businesses. I will make sure that voters learn about Dennis Moore's liberal voting record.
I will also have a much bigger campaign operation. During the primary I have raised $400,000 and have been endorsed by all of the major conservative organizations: Kansans for Life, National Right to Life, American Conservative Union, Eagle Forum, Immigration Reform PAC, Concerned Women PAC, National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, and others. During the general election cycle, I will raise over $1 million and will have the backing of all of the major Republican organizations in Washington. They have assured me that they will be behind me. Taking back the Third District is a top priority for the Republican Party nationally.
I will also focus a great deal of attention on Douglas and Wyandotte Counties. I have already spent many days campaigning in these counties, but they take on even greater importance during the general election. If a Republican is going to win in November, he must neutralize the advantage that Dennis Moore has enjoyed in these two counties in the past. We have a plan for doing so, and we will succeed.
Moderator: That wraps up our chat for this afternoon. We'd like to thank our readers and Kris Kobach for joining us.