Archive for Friday, August 17, 2012

Protesters interrupt Kobach’s defense of Alabama immigration law

August 17, 2012


— A quarrelsome U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held its first hearing on state laws that target illegal immigration, with Republican backers arguing Friday that the measures are vital to protecting American jobs and fighting crime.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped write similar immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama, said unemployment in Alabama has dropped three times faster than the national average since parts of the state's law took effect last fall — a change he credited at least in part to the act.

Attempting to head off claims that the laws lead to racial profiling by police, Kobach said the immigration enforcement specifically bar officers from making stops or arrests based on appearance.

As he spoke, four Hispanic women and a girl stood in the audience with their backs toward Kobach. Demonstrators, some speaking Spanish, stood up holding signs that said "Undocumented" and shouted at Kobach.

"These laws are based on hate," said one man.

The meeting room quieted after officers escorted protesters away, but the commissioners still bickered among themselves. The eight-member panel is split between Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, and the divide was clear.

Congressional appointee Todd Gaziano, legal director of the conservative Heritage Foundation, accused the demonstrators of "hateful speech," and Democratic member Michael Yaki responded that Gaziano was only making matters worse by loudly demanding that security remove the protesters.

"Thank you for your wisdom," Gaziano said sarcastically.

Gaziano and chairman Martin R. Castro, appointed by President Barack Obama, exchanged sharp words throughout the opening session. Members even disagreed over who should be allowed to testify, with organizations accusing each other of being a hate groups.

The commission will issue a report within months on the findings of the hearing, which focused on whether the state laws foster discrimination and run counter to civil rights laws. But the panel doesn't have any enforcement power, and it can't make states alter their laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down three parts of Arizona's law in June, but it upheld a section that requires police to check the status of people who might appear to be in the country illegally. The ruling was closely watched because Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana and Utah have approved similar laws.

Courts have blocked all or parts of the laws in each state, and legal challenges are now moving forward since the justices ruled on the Arizona statute.

State Rep. Stacey Abrams, minority leader in the Georgia House, said legislators who passed that state's immigration law failed to provide money to train police on how to enforce it.

"We've simply given them another job to do with no money to do it ...," she told the commission.

Law opponent Tammy Besherse, an attorney with South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, accused law officers of destroying immigrants' legal documents and of playing computer games in which participants kill Mexican immigrants.

GOP state Sen. Scott Beason, a key sponsor of Alabama's law, said opponents of the laws and the media place more value on the rights of illegal immigrants than the plight of legal U.S. citizens who can't find work because of people living in the country unlawfully.

"We cannot solve the world's problems, but we can make sure we don't import some problems ...," said Beason. Responding to a question about a U.S. Chamber of Commerce that cast immigration in a positive light, Beason said the business organization is "pretty slanted" because some of its members employ illegal immigrants.

Castro said the Alabama hearing was the commission's first outside of Washington, D.C., in years. The panel's first-ever was held in Birmingham in 1958, when state and local laws mandated racial segregation.


kansanbygrace 1 year, 8 months ago

All the SOS business I deal with is quite tidily carried out by a few people in the office. Kris isn't necessary. He's just the scary hood ornament.

I'd hate to have him in the office all the time, making up more utterly unnecessary junk to foist on us. Don't think we could afford it.

Maybe the best we could hope for is that he's so successful "out there" that he pulls a Sarah.


Claudean McKellips 1 year, 8 months ago

While KKKobach is bilking another state, we have to have another costly election in Topeka because he is not doing his job.


beatrice 1 year, 8 months ago

If only the Supreme Court would rule on whether or not states can have immigration laws that trump federal laws ... oh, wait, they did. Time to take a sit Kobach.


Jean Robart 1 year, 8 months ago

I lived in Alabama for several years and can testify to a couple of statements. Stupidity is NOT restricted to Kansas government. There's plenty to go around, and there is plenty in Alabama.

Kobach has done a lot to alienate/annoy voters in Kansas, don't begrudge him the chance to screw up in another state when he is out of office. Just laying the groundwork?


observant 1 year, 8 months ago

When does this idiot spend time doing the job he was elected for? I know, the right wing GOP/Teabaggers love how worthless he is, but he's doing "gods" work. Like the useless "governor" is. Brownie nor KKK will get re-elected, I don't think even Kansans are that stupid. Hope I'm not proved wrong on this prediction, If so, I',m out of this nutcase state in 2015.


verity 1 year, 8 months ago

To much black and white, one size fits all thinking here. Not all sitations with illegal aliens are the same.

First off, many come because they are desperate, not because they want to flout our laws. Would you not do the same if you had no means of making a decent living where you are? They are doing what so many here condemn others for not doing---trying to support themselves and their families. Some no doubt are taking jobs from citizens, some are not.

In the case of Alabama, it seems that that the illegals leaving has hurt the economy of the state because farmers can't get their crops in.

This kind of bashing is not going to solve the problem and Kris Kobach's one-size fits all laws are probably just costing money and making it worse. We need to get beyond preconceived notions and look at the facts. We also need to have some humanity. Not so long ago my own ancestors were looked on by others as being traitors because they came from the wrong country.


Kendall Simmons 1 year, 8 months ago

Kobach just claimed that "unemployment in Alabama has dropped three times faster than the national average since parts of the state's law took effect last fall".

Well...I want to know Kobach's explanation for the fact that, starting this spring, Alabama's unemployment rate is increasing at a higher rate than the national average. Indeed it is now increasing FIVE TIMES faster than the national average!!

I sure as heck someone on the commission asks him for an explanation of that nasty little detail.


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 8 months ago

If, according to Sotomayor, Latina's are "wise", why are they in Alabama and not in Mexico with other "wise Latina's" enjoying the 'wonderful' topography of Mexico?

Go 'figure.'


NotMeAgain 1 year, 8 months ago

Why are the people not protesting against the business that hires the immigrants. They are just as or even more guilty to hire immigrants. I don't see any protest or a state represenitive making a law about hiring illegal immigrants and going after the business owners about this. The business owners are the criminals also for not giving any type of insurance or doing background checks. Anything for the mighty dollar.


Brock Masters 1 year, 8 months ago

We have one side that is anti-illegal immigrants and amnesty and another side pro-illegal immigrants and amnesty. I wonder if as a compromise if both sides could accept amnesty if as a condition of it the illegal immigrants would not be entitled to any public assistance except those for which they pay into like SS and Medicare?


consumer1 1 year, 8 months ago

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NotMeAgain 1 year, 8 months ago

Well America is built by immigrants that came from other countrys that worked for next to nothing. If your not a Native American Inidan or Mexican that belong to this country First, just don't understand why people complain about immigrants taking over jobs that Americans are lazy to do. They want more money less work. Your great great grandparents would take you over their knee and give you all a good lashing for not taking any job, no matter what the pay is.


consumer1 1 year, 8 months ago

It is amazing how many fish you can catch with one juicy worm. I enjoy this sooo much.


bstevens 1 year, 8 months ago

The reporter mentions some "Hispanic" women who turned their backs. I'm curious how the reporter knows that those people are "Hispanic"?


Agnostick 1 year, 8 months ago

So, we're lowering taxes... cutting services... and our officials are providing service subsidies to other state governments?!?!

Really, Sammy Boy?!?!?


consumer1 1 year, 8 months ago

Of course they protested, that is what liberals do. they don't like it so they whine!


Ray Parker 1 year, 8 months ago

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is denying state benefits and driver’s licenses to illegal aliens who get deferred deportation and work permits under the illegal tyrannical edict of the Mombasa Marxist calling the executive order backdoor amnesty and pandering. Brewer’s executive order clearly restates that illegal aliens under deferred deportation will not be lawful residents by state laws. Kansas Gov. Brownback will do the same, if he knows what his constituents want. The Mombasa Marxist cannot strike down federal and state immigration laws with his pen, a violation of the separation of powers. Congress wouldn’t do it, and federal judges won’t do it, either. Keep illegal aliens out of our schools, out of our work force, and out of our country. Build the dang fence.

Work permits?

Work permits? by parkay


Jayhawk1958 1 year, 8 months ago

It doesn't help unemployment. Only hispanics want to work those jobs due to low pay and poor working condiitons. Alabama is a huge non-union state.


Steve Jacob 1 year, 8 months ago

I have never donated to a political campaign before, but if Jamie Shew would run for S of S in 2014, I'd have to get out the wallet.


1 year, 8 months ago

Just curious, was he there on his own nickle, and did he take personal leave to go there? I'll bet the answer to both is a resounding no.


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