I happened to be watching Rachael Maddow’s show on MSNBC Monday night and naturally my interest peaked when she introduced viewers to the man who she said wrote the Arizona law that allows police officers to ask for legal papers from suspected illegal immigrants.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law Friday and ever since the state has been subject to ridicule by immigration reform advocates, protests from Mexicans and threatened sanctions from Mexican businessmen shipping supplies into the state.
What Maddow reported may well be true for the most part but linking the bill’s author as some right-wing nut likely was a step too far.
He is Kris Kobach, 43, an attorney who has done work for the Federation For American Immigration Reform (FAIR) which she described as a far-right racist organization. Kobach is currently running for Kansas secretary of state.
I can’t vouch for FAIR’s dubious credentials as Maddow described them. I suggest you first see the video of Maddow’s segment on the Arizona law.
Kris Kobach, the University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor who hopes to win the Kansas secretary of state seat this year, got a big victory in Arizona. Kobach helped write the landmark, though misguided, legislation to turn immigration offenses into state crimes, including giving police powers to stop and arrest undocumented residents. The Republican governor is expected to sign the bill. The Association of Chiefs of Police opposes it; Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said that “anyone who looks Latino or has an accent can be swept up, arrested and detained while their immigration status is verified.” Kobach told Time: “There are some things that states can do and some that states can’t do, but this law threads the needle perfectly.”
I believe Maddow does a service exposing websites to the sometimes devious creatures supporting them. But, in the case of Arizona law SB 1070 that successful plaintiffs can be reimbursed for court costs and attorney fees does not mean that FAIR nor Kobach would benefit as she alleges.
The FAIR website has no reference to Kobach. Kobach’s website has no mention of affiliation with FAIR.
As much as I dislike the Draconian law in Arizona, I think it would be more accountable on Maddow’s part to seek Kobach out and put him on her show. I would like to hear his view on the law, not her spin.
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Jerry Remmers worked 26 years in the newspaper business. His last 23 years was with the Evening Tribune in San Diego where assignments included reporter, assistant city editor, county and politics editor.