Wednesday, May 28, 2014

ACLU presses Kris Kobach to turn over e-mails related to the crafting of Arizona's anti-immigration law

Posted By on Wed, May 28, 2014 at 2:45 PM

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Kris Kobach is Kansas' Secretary of State, although sometimes it feels like he serves as a top legislator or perhaps attorney general for other states.

Arizona is one of these states, where Kobach has used his legal acumen to help lawmakers there devise legislation aimed at illegal immigrants. Arizona used Kobach's help in drafting 2010's Senate Bill 1070. The measure drew international scorn for a provision that required law enforcement to figure out a person's immigration status during, say, a traffic stop if the officer suspected that he or she might be an immigrant.

The law struck many as encouragement for racial profiling. Kobach has taken his immigration road show to other municipalities to pass similar and other types of laws that crack down on illegal immigrants, a method he calls "attrition through enforcement." He's also listed as an attorney for anti-immigration nonprofits, like the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the Immigration Reform Law Institute.

The American Civil Liberties Union wanted to put an end to Kobach's brand of attrition through enforcement in Arizona and sued to dispute the constitutionality of such a law. The ACLU figured that Kobach's communication with the bill's main proponent, former Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce, might be a good place to start looking. The ACLU subpoenaed Kobach's e-mails.

So far, the ACLU has been successful in obtaining seven such e-mails but now says it should be able to see another 21 that Kobach has said shouldn't be turned over because it's attorney-client privilege. While the ACLU's case is taking place in Arizona, it sued in Kansas to enforce the subpoena of the rest of the e-mails.

The Pitch e-mailed Kobach for a comment, but he has yet to reply.

Kobach announced on Wednesday that he plans to run for re-election.

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