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.


5 years, 5 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.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 5 months ago

You can bet he took leave. They are probably paying his expenses.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 5 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.

Jayhawk1958 5 years, 5 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.

nondescript 5 years, 5 months ago

If those offering the jobs have to look a little harder (no illegal immigrants available), wages will go up and working conditions will improve enough that Americans WILL want to work those jobs.

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

Not necessarily. I know of some high paying jobs that US citizens either will not take or only vastly unqualified people apply for. Lots of assmptions are made which may seem right but aren't always so.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 5 months ago

You mean like all the farmers who were looking for workers so that their crops didn't rot in the fields...and couldn't find unemployed American workers to fill those jobs???
Alabama...and who have chosen to plant less this year rather than risk having their crops rot again???

Exactly how much do you think "hard-working American workers" should be paid to pick crops when they won't work for as much as $15-$20 an hour, for crying out loud!

MarcoPogo 5 years, 5 months ago

I think I just got written up for laughing so hard in the workplace. Thanks, Sage! I needed that.

Greg Cooper 5 years, 5 months ago

Quite astute, c1, and delivers so much to the understanding and solving of the issue at hand. Oh, that so many more were as wise as you.


kernal 5 years, 5 months ago

Guess you got over that momentary lapse into borderline liberalism the other day. LOL!

Elizabeth Stevens 5 years, 5 months ago

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

Brock Masters 5 years, 5 months ago

If they were there in support of Kobach the press would have referred to them as "white hispanics."

Larrytown 5 years, 5 months ago

You're enjoying this soooo much? I'm actually enjoying the comments in response to your initial post. Good stuff....

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 5 months ago

Give it time, FHNC, give it time. Hispanic Americans are on course to out number Caucasian Americans within the next 15 years. I probably won't be around but it's gonna be a knee slapper to see the look on your face when you realize you're a minority.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 5 months ago

When they take over I hope they treat us better than we have treated them.

NotMeAgain 5 years, 5 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.

Brock Masters 5 years, 5 months ago

notmeagain - no one complains about immigrants - they complain about illegal immigrants AKA criminals.

Brock Masters 5 years, 5 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?

Brock Masters 5 years, 5 months ago

Ag. Compromise is a give and take and an exchange of ideas. No one comes up with a perfect solution the first time all by themself. It takes collaboration.

With that said, yes I left out business and you rightfully pointed out they should be penalized for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.

I am good with it so we've got this baby whipped.

appleaday 5 years, 5 months ago

The current law states that business owners who hire illegal immigrants can be fined up to $10,000 per employee and imprisoned for up to 5 years. I bet if this law were actually enforced, the number of folks crossing the border for work would drop substantially. But then, that would be taking money out of the pockets of the "job creators." It's much easier to round up a bunch of scared and desperate people and pick on them.

question4u 5 years, 5 months ago

"We have one side that is anti-illegal immigrants and amnesty and another side pro-illegal immigrants and amnesty."

Not so. Some people think that it's un-American and downright scary that some Americans whose families have been in this country longer than yours can be compelled to prove that they're citizens just because of the color of their skin. Some people are concerned that passing laws that disregard the rights of some citizens because of the way that they look is a bit to much like turning back the clock to the pre-civil rights era. But it's not surprising that you didn't consider that.

Brock Masters 5 years, 5 months ago

Question - what you stated is false. No one under the law can be compelled to prove they are a citizen simply because of the color of their skin. Show me in the law where the police or any other authority has the power to do it. If you can't which I know you can't then you're just making stuff up.

Jean Robart 5 years, 5 months ago

doesn't stop them from trying though. Face reality.

Brock Masters 5 years, 5 months ago

Momma. Really that is the best you have to offer? Cops abuse laws right now so let's get rid of all laws?

NotMeAgain 5 years, 5 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.

riverdrifter 5 years, 5 months ago

'What the"hell" are you 'trying' to 'say'?

Do you wake up 'stupid' every single damn day of your life? I 'guess' "so". "Jesus". Whatever.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 5 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.

verity 5 years, 5 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.

Jean Robart 5 years, 5 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?

beatrice 5 years, 5 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.

Claudean McKellips 5 years, 5 months ago

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

kansanbygrace 5 years, 5 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.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.