Kansas' nativist secretary of state, already occupied with Voter Fraud Commission and gubernatorial candidacy, goes all-in with alt-right publication.
Kris Kobach is a busy man these days.
In addition to his duties as Kansas’ Secretary of State, as well as vice chair of the so-called Voter Fraud Commission, not to mention providing advice to President Trump on immigration-related issues, as well as his ongoing candidacy for Kansas’ governorship, Kobach now has a new gig: columnist for Breitbart News.
He defended adding the columns to his duties to the Kansas City Star: "I get paid for my columns...just like you're paid."
So far, Kobach has penned seven columns for Breitbart, all of them well within the vein of nativist politics he has made his specialty. The headlines sum up the viewpoint well: “Refugees and Terrorism: A Massive Vulnerability in Our Immigration System,” “It’s Time to Stop Sanctuary Cities and Counties,” and “The Opportunity of a Generation to Shrink Government Through Attrition.”
It’s also clear that Kobach is not just an ordinary columnist in terms of his influence and reach. His most recent column — headlined “The DACA Amnesty Must Be Ended” — was published just last week, only days before Sunday’s announcement that indeed Trump intends to end the so-called “Dreamers” program that permitted certain undocumented immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children to remain in the country.
Kobach, for that matter, spent much of the week smearing DACA students as likely “gangbangers” and claiming the program was illegal on cable news talk shows.
On Fox News, he claimed: “The legal question isn’t even a close one … This one’s illegal. It violates three different federal laws, it violates the Constitution.” (A group of 100 law professors wrote to Trump last week asserting that the opposite was true, urging him to retain DACA.)
Most of all, Kobach served up for TV audiences the smear tactics common to the nativists’ attacks on the program, warning that that permitting “Dreamers” to remain in the U.S. would “only encourage additional illegal immigration."
"The DACA (population) is a cross section of the illegal alien population," Kobach said on MSNBC. "There are criminals, there are scholars. But it’s not an especially higher achieving cross-section of the illegal alien population."
"What happens is a lot of gang-bangers get arrested, but the state won’t have the resources to prosecute all of them, and so they’re released," he added.
"It used to be before DACA that the local county sheriff would release them to ICE in hope that ICE would deport them," he added. "But we have many cases of such individuals who are getting the DACA amnesty — they’ve been arrested, they haven’t yet been convicted. But that arrest isn’t enough to disqualify them from DACA."
Kobach’s columns at Breitbart also make clear that he has no intention of maintaining any appearance of objectivity in his role overseeing the Voter Fraud Commission, which is looking at ways to deprive immigrants and others of the ability to vote under the rubric of preventing vote fraud. (Just last week, lawyers for the panel apologized to a federal judge for their “incredible” failure to disclose information to the public as ordered.) The online news site not only has become a home for the white nationalist alt-right, but a sewer of outright racism in its comments sections.
Kobach dismissed any concerns about the publication’s appeal to white nationalists, however.
“I think Breitbart.com appeals to anyone who is Republican or conservative in any way,” Kobach told the Star. “It appeals to a broad spectrum of conservative readers.”