Topeka Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said today he is considering filing criminal charges against immigration reform advocates who protested on his home's porch over the weekend. Those who helped organize and participated in the protest said nothing improper happened.
Reports indicated that anywhere from 100 to 300 people participated in the protest at Kobach's home in western Wyandotte County on Saturday. Video of the event showed people standing on Kobach's porch and in the driveway chanting pro-immigration slogans and leaving pairs of shoes that they said represented the shoes of fathers who have been deported because of Kobach's anti-immigration policies.
Kobach, a Republican who has built a national profile pushing tough illegal immigration laws, called the protesters a mob and said they were trying to intimidate him.
Kobach, his wife and their young daughters were not home at the time. "If my daughters had seen 200 people coming up the driveway, it would have been very scary for them," Kobach said.
"We are looking into what charges will be filed," he said. "There are a variety of charges, a number of statutes that apply," he said, mentioning criminal threat, criminal terrorism, and littering.
He said neighbors called police, who arrived and were on the scene when the protesters dispersed.
But Louis Goseland, of Sunflower Community Action, which organized the protest, said the Wichita-based group did nothing illegal. He said police who were there gave no warnings but just wanted to make sure no one was blocking the street.
Goseland said the protesters weren't trying to intimidate Kobach and no angry rhetoric was used. He said they were making a statement in opposition to his policies.
In November, about 50 people rallied outside Kobach's secretary of state office in Topeka. Several tried to meet with Kobach, but Kobach's spokeswoman met them downstairs from his office and told them that Kobach wouldn't meet with them because his schedule was full and he didn't conduct immigration-related business in his state office. Kobach has often said he works on anti-illegal-immigration issues, often for other states, on his own time.
Goseland said Kobach lists his law office address as his home address, so the group decided to protest outside his home.
But Kobach said that didn't give protesters the right to come onto his porch.
In an interview with Fox News today, Kobach said the incident should serve as a reminder of the need for Second Amendment gun rights. But Kobach told the Lawrence Journal-World he was not implying he would have used a gun against the protesters.