Kris Kobach to push immigration law in Kansas
By KSNW News
updated 11/22/2011 1:25:17 PM ET

WICHITA, Kansas (KSN) — Few issues raise passions in politics today more than what to do about illegal immigration, and few are more passionate about the issue than Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

"I think a lot of Kansans would like Kansas to become more like Arizona and less like California."

Long before Kobach became secretary of state, he was at the front lines in the war against illegal immigration.

He helped write the controversial Arizona law that's led to protests across the nation.

Kobach's Arizona law has come under heavy criticism because it forces immigrants to carry papers showing their legal status and forces police to check them if they're reasonably suspicious.

The secretary of state would like to see one of the more controversial measures of the Alabama law passed in Kansas forcing employers to use the federal E-Verify system to vet new hires.

"If there were fewer jobs illegal aliens could obtain unlawfully and get away with it, then what that would mean is that fewer illegal aliens would come to Kansas."

Kobach has already brought some of that controversy to Kansas. He helped get a new voter fraud bill through the statehouse. It killed off voter registration drives with a law demanding proof of citizenship as well as photo identification at the polls.

Critics call it the biggest affront to voter rights since poll taxes were passed after the civil war to keep freed slaves from voting.

"We really see this as nothing more than an attempt to keep people from registering and keep people from voting," said Louis Goseland, Sunflower Community Action Group.

Earlier this month, a coalition of religious leaders pleaded with lawmakers in Kansas to leave the issue of immigration alone.

"We just think that is not a practical solution."

It's a plea Kobach wants ignored.

He says as many as 70,000 illegal immigrants currently call Kansas home and claims taxpayers nationwide lose $100 billion a year paying services for immigrants.

Kobach also points to 9/11 calling illegal immigration a huge threat to our national security.

Kobach also says illegal immigration is a cultural issue. He claims most Kansans are fed up that they won't leave behind their old ways and become "Americanized."

"Some people are saying America isn't a melting pot anymore, and they're saying America is a salad bowl. We should not insist people become American. I have heard people make that argument and that to me is an anathema."

In Arizona, the president of the senate is now out of a job after losing a recall election to a moderate republican.

Russell Pearce worked closely with Kobach and spearheaded the effort in Arizona to pass Kobach's bill, but Kobach says Pearce's defeat in Arizona shouldn't deter lawmakers in Topeka.

"Bottom line is I don't think you'll see legislators in other states saying 'Oh No!' Look what happened to Russell Pearce."

With moderate republicans in control of the Kansas State Senate, Kobach admits the timing may be off to tackle the issue when the legislature reconvenes in January, but he won't stop pushing and waiting for the day his idea of immigration reform comes to Kansas.

"I just soldier on because I know what I'm doing is right, and I'm going to keep on doing it."

Kobach also says that when lawmakers reconvene in January, he will push for a bill that will allow police officers to detain individuals that they believe may be undocumented. ... swle1bFLqE