Topeka — Republican secretary of state candidate Kris Kobach not only helped write Arizona’s new immigration law, but he has been working for $300 per hour to train law enforcement officers there on procedures in arresting suspected illegal immigrants.
Kobach, an attorney, was hired as an immigration expert to help the Maricopa County sheriff’s office in immigration enforcement activities and policy. The contract, signed in October, calls for a minimum payment to Kobach of $1,500 per month, plus expenses and travel.
The new state law in Arizona, which Kobach helped put together, has been under fire from civil rights advocates, President Obama and even some Republican politicians.
The law says anyone police suspect of being in the country illegally must produce proof of being in the country lawfully or face arrest.
Critics say the law will result in people being targeted by law enforcement because of their skin color or language.
But Kobach says the criticism is off base and that the law prohibits racial profiling.
His contract with Maricopa County deals with training deputies under Sheriff Joe Arpaio on arrest procedures under federal immigration law. Arpaio, who is considering a run for governor, has been criticized by some for improper tactics in cracking down on illegal immigration.
Kobach’s help on the new state immigration law in Arizona was done for free, he said.
“I want these states to draft laws that will stand up in court,” he said.
He also has written local ordinances dealing with illegal immigration in Hazelton, Pa., and Farmers Branch, Texas.
Kobach said he was asked to help out on the Arizona law by state Sen. Russell Pearce, a Republican from Mesa, Ariz.
Kobach described Pearce as a friend. Pearce has been a controversial figure in Arizona politics.
In 2006, Pearce sent an e-mail to supporters in which he copied an article from a white separatist group.
The article from the National Alliance’s website criticized the media for promoting multiculturalism, racial equality and presenting the Jewish Holocaust as fact. Pearce said he didn’t know the entire contents of the article and when he became aware of them he apologized and said they didn’t represent his views.
Of Pearce, Kobach said, “I know him as a person who has never said anything that indicated any kind of racial bias. He’s a very good man.”
Kobach is a former Kansas Republican Party chairman, and a law professor at University of Missouri-Kansas City. From 2001 to 2003, he served as the chief adviser on immigration law to then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Kobach is senior counsel for the Immigration Law Reform Institute, which describes itself as representing “citizens experiencing injury resulting from illegal immigration.”