|Who Is Kris Kobach and Why Should Proponents of Illegal Immigration Fear Him?|
By Ashton Ellis
Wednesday, May 05 2010
Once again, a bright conservative attorney is proving the virtue of careful attention to detail. On its face, Arizona’s new immigration law sounds in perfect harmony with the express will of decades-old pronouncements of the national legislature. Thanks to the efforts of Kris Kobach, an immigration law expert and one of the architects of Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, it is very likely that “comprehensive immigration reform” and enforcing existing laws could turn out to be the same thing.
Judging by the content of their caricatures, it is becoming clear that liberal critics of SB 1070 have no idea the mind they are up against. A former White House Fellow and top Justice Department lawyer, Kobach graduated from Harvard and Yale Law School while taking time off in between to earn a doctorate from Oxford. Along with being bright and accomplished, he is oh so very careful in his legislative craftsmanship.
Working with Arizona legislators, Kobach did his homework and delivered a product that anticipates – and very likely defeats – any precedent-based legal challenges. If the validity of Arizona’s measure turns on current law, there won’t be an adverse authority to point to, no matter how loudly liberals try to say otherwise.
That isn’t to say Kobach and company haven’t had to tweak the statute since it was signed into law last week. Due to the claims of some parse-happy lefties, SB 1070 was quickly misconstrued. Critics alleged that the phrase “lawful contact” was too vague to control a police officer’s urge to engage in fishing expeditions for illegal immigrants wherever two or more Hispanics are gathered.
To remedy that misconception, amendments were quickly added to define the term as any “lawful stop, detention, or arrest;” a definition that was stated by the legislature and clear to the judges, attorneys, and officers who deal with criminal procedure daily. After all, what other kind of lawful, person-to-person contact would an officer make other than a stop, detention, or arrest?
The smarter liberals already know this. That’s why they left it to the op-ed writers to howl uninformed jeremiads against an act that does little more than adopt certain federal regulations as state laws. The most widely decried of these requires a foreign national to carry identification at all times, and to produce it when asked. The federal requirement dates back to 1940, and until last week quietly puttered along in the United States Code. Yet, when Arizona adopted the same language seventy years later, it suddenly became a state-level exercise in apartheid. Hardly. The words just carry more weight now that a government intends to enforce them.
This is the real bone of contention for liberal opponents of Arizona’s new immigration law. Conservatives continue to oppose the Left’s version of “comprehensive immigration reform” because there are already plenty of laws on the books to stem the tide of illegal immigration. They just go unused.
For example, President Clinton signed a law requiring federal officials to respond to state and local requests for a person’s immigration status. With SB 1070, Arizona wants the feds to make good on their statutory duty to help officers in the field identify who is breaking the law.
If only it were that simple. Unfortunately, the more Kobach and others explain the federal regulations that Arizona adopted, the clearer it becomes that there is very likely a multi-generational, bipartisan effort to pass popular control measures, and then ignore them. The recipe calls for waiting long enough for the influx of illegal aliens to mushroom into a problem so large that amnesty is declared inevitable, allowing the cycle to begin anew.
As usual, those on the Left who oppose Arizona’s tough new law are confusing policy disagreements with whether the law is constitutional. It is perfectly fair for critics to argue the merits of whether we should have the immigration laws we do. It is something entirely different – and disingenuous – to squawk that the constitution necessarily prohibits a state from adopting and enforcing a preexisting federal regulatory scheme. If that were true, then liberals should be suing states like California and Massachusetts that routinely legislate beyond federally approved guidelines in areas like environmental regulation.
Though the news cycle is already spinning away from this story, we probably haven’t heard the last of Kris Kobach. Along with drafting model legislation, working as a law professor and hosting a weekly radio show, Kobach recently stepped down as Chairman of the Kansas Republican Party to run for Secretary of State. He’s already secured the endorsements of Fred Thompson, John Ashcroft, Tom Tancredo, Phyllis Schlafly and Michelle Malkin. If elected, he’ll finally have a chance to have an impact on his true love: election law. Liberals, you are warned.
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