When Mr. Kobach Comes to Town: Nativist Laws and the Communities They Damage
There’s a new report out from SPLC and Mark Potok on the Nativist movement and the cost. There’s one person who is profiting from the failed legistlative efforts, both from consultation and from being an expert witness, and now he’s secretary of state in Kansas.
Behind all of this stands one man: Kris Kobach, a former Kansas City law professor who was just elected Kansas secretary of state. For the better part of the last six years, Kobach has been chief legal counsel to the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which is the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). He helped to write and defend in court the laws in Hazleton, Valley Park, Farmers Branch, Fremont and Arizona, and he is seeking to do even more.
Kobach’s affiliation with FAIR is important. For most of the last three decades, FAIR has been working, as its founder John Tanton once wrote, to preserve “a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.” Although the organization is typically less than candid about its motives, its president, Dan Stein, has sounded similar notes. In a heretofore unknown oral history housed in a university library, Stein expressed his anger at the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which sought to end a longstanding and racist system of quotas. President Lyndon B. Johnson, in signing the act, had celebrated the demise of the old racist system, saying that “it will never again shadow the gate to the American nation with … prejudice.” Stein didn’t see it that way. The act, he said, was a “key mistake” in American policy forced by people who sought “to retaliate against Anglo-Saxon dominance” and create “chaos.”