Posts tagged with Kobach
Topeka —Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has taken his fight for voter photo ID to Alaska.
In the process, Kobach, a Republican who has become a national figure on immigration restrictions and voter ID, has thrust himself into a state legislative battle and a U.S. Senate race there.
Here's a link to a story about Kobach's efforts inlink text Alaska that starts with a question: "Why has Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach taken such an active interest in Alaska's elections?
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was in Washington, D.C., yesterday testifying against an immigration bill before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
Kobach cited the recent Boston Marathon bombing as one of several reasons he opposed the proposed legislation, saying that the bill provided insufficient background checks to prevent terrorists from gaining amnesty.
According to his written testimony, Kobach said that under the bill "any illegal alien can invent a new name with a totally clean record and present that name when applying for the amnesty.
"In other words, an alien who has a terrorist background can call himself `Rumpelstiltskin' without having to prove that that is his real name."
He said marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a shoot-out with police, was able to travel internationally and gain terrorist training before returning to the United States.
Supporters of the immigration bill, however, say it will strengthen security by increasing border security and enforcement. The measure would also require employers to check their workers' legal status, and it would provide a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants now here illegally.
Kobach has worked with several cities and states, such as Arizona, in passing measures aimed at reducing illegal immigration.
His use of the term "self-deportation," to describe the departure of undocumented workers because of tough immigration enforcement laws became an issue during the November presidential campaign. Kobach was an adviser on immigration issues to Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who also used the term "self-deportation." Some have said that hurt Romney among Hispanic voters.
During Tuesday's committee meeting, Kobach got into a discussion about "self-deportation" with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
Kobach said, "Self-deportation is not some radical idea. It is simply the idea that people may comply with the law by their own choice.
"Self-deportation is something that Arizona has proven that if you ratchet up the penalties for violating the law, people chose to leave and it has been proven that they do that."
But Durbin said, "The voters had the last word on self-deportation on Nov. 6, so we're beyond that now. You can stick with that theory as long as you'd like, but I think what we are talking about now is whether America is a better country if we have an immigration system that brings 11 million people out of the shadows, to register with this government, so we know who they are, where they are, do a criminal background check, or whether we leave them in the shadows."
Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist is coming to Kansas at the behest of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce to oppose "restrictionist" policies on immigration reform.
"We are bringing Mr. Norquist to Kansas so legislators can hear what real immigration reform should look like," said Mike O'Neal, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Chamber.
"Each year, the business coalition has been forced to oppose harmful, anti-business legislation pushed as the only solution to this country's and Kansas' immigration woes. Mr. Norquist's insight will give lawmakers a fresh perspective into what direction this country should head as it searches for a solution to the broken and inefficient immigration system," O'Neal added.
Norquist, who is better known nationally as the president of Americans for Tax Reform, will speak at a breakfast for legislators at 8 a.m. Jan. 16 at the Maner Conference Center Shawnee Ballroom in Topeka. The breakfast will be hosted by the Kansas Chamber and the Kansas Business Coalition for Immigration Reform.
In the past, the Kansas Chamber and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach have been at odds on the subject of illegal immigration.
Kobach has pushed, both in Kansas and nationally, for more stringent restrictions, which the chamber has said would place a burden on businesses. The chamber has championed a measure to place some illegal immigrants in jobs if the state declares that an industry has a labor shortage. But Kobach has described that as an amnesty proposal.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Thursday there were no problems during the Nov. 6 general election with the photo ID requirement to vote, and he said he would push next year for the Legislature to give his office the authority to prosecute allegations of voter fraud.
"I think it makes sense that if we as a state take voter fraud seriously when it does occur that we prosecute the cases," Kobach said after a meeting of the State Board of Canvassers, which officially certified the results of the election.
Kobach pushed the photo ID law, saying it was needed to combat election fraud, but he acknowledged that there have no reports of voter fraud in Kansas this year.
The authority to prosecute voter fraud currently rests with county attorneys, but Kobach said those offices don't get around to investigating and prosecuting those cases because they are over-worked and under-staffed.
He said there have been 235 cases of alleged voter fraud in Kansas between 1997 and 2010 and not one has been prosecuted.
Kobach has tried to get authority to prosecute alleged voter fraud cases before, but the state Senate balked. Now that conservative Republicans will takeover leadership of the Senate next year, Kobach said he believes he can get such a bill approved.
On photo ID, the recently concluded election was the first general election in Kansas with the requirement.
Out of 1,182,771 votes cast, 838 provisional ballots were issued due to lack of sufficient photo ID, Kobach said. Of those, 306 voters presented ID before the county canvass to make their votes count. That means 532 provisional ballots were not counted.
But Kobach said he was confident nearly all those voters had photo ID. He said he bases that on checking on those who cast provisional ballots after the August primary against driver's license records.
In the Nov. 6 election, 66.8 percent of Kansas' nearly 1.8 million registered voters cast ballots. Republican Mitt Romney defeated President Barack Obama in Kansas by 59.7 percent to 37.9 percent with the remaining votes going to minor party candidates.
Children of undocumented immigrants rallied on Tuesday, calling on Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to resign and drop a lawsuit that seeks to end a program established by President Barack Obama that allows them to stay in the country. In an interview with the Lawrence Journal-World, Kobach said he has no intention of doing either.
He described the group's demands as "insane."
"The audacity of some people who are illegally in the country is amazing," Kobach said. "First they demand we don't enforce our laws and then they demand that a public official who wants to enforce the laws should resign."
Several in the group tried to meet with Kobach, a Republican who has been active in passing stringent anti-illegal immigration laws in several states, 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 doesn't conduct immigration-related business while in his state office.
"We don't do any immigration issues here in this office, the secretary of state's office," said V. Kay Curtis, who took a letter from the group and said she would give it to Kobach.
Erika Andiola, a 25-year-old from Mesa, Ariz., said she wanted to urge Kobach to stick to his state job and stop interfering with policies in other states. "We are asking him to stop using his time on immigration," Andiola said.
She said her mother was arrested by police two months ago because of Arizona's SB 1070, which was co-authored by Kobach, and requires local law enforcement to attempt to determine a person's immigration status during a stop or arrest.
"My mother was taken away handcuffed right in front of me," said Andiola. She was later released after law enforcement determined that she was in the process of getting residency status, Andiola said. She said her mother was initially stopped in her car because she was apparently "too brown" to be driving.
About 50 young adults, many of whom were brought here from Mexico and other countries as children, and their supporters rallied outside Kobach's office in the Memorial Building.
They urged Kobach to drop a lawsuit he has filed on behalf of 10 federal employees that seeks to undo a directive by Obama that allows young illegal immigrants who met certain criteria be allowed to stay in the country.
To qualify, an individual must have come to the United States before they were 16 and be a student, high school graduate or military veteran. They must have also been in the country for five years, and not be considered a risk to national security or public safety.
In a statement Kobach, who was an informal immigration advisor to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said of Obama's action, "The Directive is an extension of the DREAM Act, which was rejected by Congress, and aims to grant an amnesty to 1.7 million illegal aliens. It violates federal immigration laws that require certain aliens to be placed in removal proceedings.”
But Ernesto De La Rosa of Dodge City said Obama's directive will enable students to work and study in the United States, which they consider their home. "We love this country and we want to contribute," he said.
The letter that De La Rosa and others gave to Kobach's office said Kobach has been an impediment "to our living out the American Dream. You have sought to rip our families apart and make our lives so miserable that we `self-deport.'"
Supporters of the DREAM Act on Tuesday plan to protest outside Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office and call on him to resign.
Kobach, a Republican, is known as the author of several state anti-illegal immigration laws. Many have said GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney failed to get much support among Hispanics because he adhered to Kobach's position on illegal immigration.
The protest is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Memorial Hall.
The message from the protestors is "You cost your party our support. It's time to resign as Kansas Secretary of State, and to stop taking your anti-immigration messages to other states."
The DREAM Act is a proposal that would provide permanent residency status to certain undocumented residents.
Organizers of the protest said people from Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arizona and Georgia are expected to participate.
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., is vying for the chairmanship of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which works to get more Republicans elected to the Senate.
Roll Call reported Thursday: "Moran’s boosters said his tea party appeal will help block primary challenges for potentially vulnerable Members such as Sens. Pat Roberts (Kan.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.)."
Some interesting dissection of the presidential race has focused on Mitt Romney's failure to attract Hispanic voters, and that string leads to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
According to this article in The New Republic, after Texas Gov. Rick Perry jumped into Republican Party presidential contest, Romney attacked him on the right as being soft on illegal immigration.
In January, during the Republican Party primaries, Kobach, known nationally for pushing tough anti-illegal immigration legislation, endorsed Romney and Romney praised Kobach.
"I'm so proud to earn Kris's support. Kris has been a true leader on securing our borders and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into this country. We need more conservative leaders like Kris willing to stand up for the rule of law," Romney said.
Romney even started using the same term Kobach used to describe how the Kobach-written laws were making people "self-deport."
But after winning the GOP nomination, Romney said in an interview with Univision America Radio that he had never met Kobach and his campaign described Kobach as an "informal adviser." Later, the Romney campaign said Romney and Kobach had met but not in formal policy meetings.
Topeka — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Thursday will make his voter turnout prediction for the general election.
During the last presidential election in 2008, 1,264,208 Kansans cast ballots, or 72.3 percent of registered voters.
During that contest, Republican John McCain got 57 percent of the vote, and Democrat Barack Obama got 42 percent with minor party candidates getting the remainder.
This time, Republican Mitt Romney will almost certainly win Kansas, so the real contests will be in the downballot legislative, State Board of Education and local races.
The election will also be the first presidential contest in Kansas under the new requirement, pushed by Kobach, to show photo ID to vote. Early voting continues through Monday, and Tuesday is Election Day.