Kobach no longer advising Maricopa County in Arizona on immigration issues

New Maricopa County attorney decides not to retain Kansas lawyer

? A change in leadership at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Arizona is costing Kris Kobach some work.

Kobach, an attorney and Republican candidate for Kansas secretary of state, was providing legal advice to Maricopa County on immigration issues.

But Kobach said he has been terminated from that job after the former Maricopa County Attorney, Andrew Thomas, left office last month to run for Arizona attorney general.

The new Maricopa Attorney “takes a very different view of enforcing Arizona’s human smuggling” law, Kobach said.

The new Maricopa Attorney, Rick Romley, said he would stop using a state human smuggling law to prosecute illegal immigrants on felony charges as conspirators once the state’s new law cracking down on illegal immigrants takes effect on July 29, according to an article by The Associated Press. Romley said he must use lesser charges under the new law instead of a controversial interpretation of a 5-year-old law used by his predecessor, AP reported.

Ironically, that new law, known as Senate Bill 1070, is one that Kobach helped write.

That law has generated controversy nationwide because it allows local police to question suspects on whether they are in the country legally.

In October, Kobach had signed a $300 per hour contract to advise Maricopa County law enforcement on immigration issues. The contract called for a minimum payment to Kobach of $1,500 per month, plus expenses and travel. The Maricopa County Attorney’s office had engaged the Phoenix law firm of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak, Stewart, P.C. and given that firm permission to obtain legal advice from Kobach.

On Wednesday, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office confirmed that it had ended the contact with the law firm and, therefore, Kobach. A spokesman for the office declined to provide further details.

Kobach, who has also been a constitutional law professor at University of Missouri at Kansas City, said he has taken a leave of absence from that job. He said he is required to do so because he is running for public office.