Will GOP’s Internal Divisions Create a Path to Real Immigration Reform?

About Suman Raghunathan

Suman Raghunathan is an immigrant rights and policy advocate with more than a decade of experience. The daughter of Indian immigrants, and the former Director of Policy and Strategic Partnerships at Progressive States Network, she is now a freelance policy consultant.
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immigration photoSome Republicans are backing away from their hard-line stance on immigration reform, while the GOP’s most conservative members still oppose anything resembling “amnesty” for undocumented workers. These tensions are especially evident in Kansas, where the growing number of Latinos and the needs of agribusiness have pushed much of the state’s Republican establishment to embrace reform legislation, even as anti-immigrant sentiment remains strong among much of the party’s base. Can progressive activists use the GOP’s divisions, and the gathering support for modest reform, to forge a long-term strategy for achieving something more?

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce had a banner year in 2012. With its help, a wave of Tea Party Republicans swept out many of the moderate voices in the state’s GOP-controlled legislature. The change was especially dramatic in the State House of Representatives. The party breakdown in that chamber remained the same—92 Republicans and 33 Democrats—but the Tea Party ousted moderate incumbents and installed hard-right candidates in the GOP’s primary process. The result is that about one-fourth of the House now consists of conservatives in the Tea Party mold. They won election with substantial assistance from the Chamber and Americans for Prosperity, the political action committee founded by the billionaire Koch brothers.

Few issues are capable of creating divisions and dissent in what is effectively a one-party state. The politicians who dominate the legislature are social conservatives and antitax, antiregulation economic libertarians.i Until recently, it appeared that they were also unified around a hardline anti-immigration stance. The Wichita Eagle predicted in early January, in fact, that “at least four bills to crack down on illegal immigrants are expected in Kansas this year.”ii

But in the past few months, the picture has become much more complex. Efforts to advance anti-immigration legislation in Kansas have stalled, and at the national level, some of the GOP’s major figures have recently signaled a willingness to back away from their opposition to immigration reform. On the other hand, a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that only 35 percent of Republicans support a “path to citizenship” for undocumented workers. The figure is even lower—30 percent—among self-described conservatives. And the numbers are actually on a downward trend.iii

This divide within the GOP between conservative business interests and the Tea Party base raises interesting questions. Will the Republican Party be able to heal its internal divide and find a unified voice by supporting some form of limited immigration reform? And will pro-reform advocacy groups be able to use the GOP’s divisions, and the momentum created in this short-term battle, to pass more far-reaching, pro-immigrant reforms over the long run?

What’s interesting about the case of Kansas is the high quality and high profile of the players, the way these questions are coming into sharp focus, and the broad potential implications. The politics of immigration in Kansas may very well reverberate nationally, helping shape U.S. immigration policy for decades to come.

The “browning” of Kansas

Immigration isn’t limited to big states like New York, California, and Florida. Newcomers also flock to Midwestern destinations that are in desperate need of low-wage immigrant labor. Along with many other so-called “new gateway” states, Kansas has seen an exponential growth in its Latino population, notably since 2000.

In a Great Plains state with a small population, this dynamic has translated into marked demographic shifts in specific regions. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the number of Latino residents expanded in all but five of Kansas’s 105 counties. This expansion is especially evident in the western part of the state, particularly the southwestern region, where big agriculture is big indeed, and unemployment rates are lower than the state average. In 2000, no county in Kansas was majority Latino, but the southwestern region is now home to at least two majority-Latino counties (Seward, where 57 percent of residents are Latino,iv and Ford, where Latinos account for 51 percent of the population).v

Latinos accounted for seven percent of the state’s residents in 2000. By 2010, they were more than 10 percent of the population, and Latinos accounted for two-thirds of Kansas’ population overall growth in that decade. While the state’s total growth rate was about six percent, growth among non-Hispanic residents was only about two percent. The non-Latino population in numerous Kansas counties actually decreased.vi

Kris Kobach, anti-immigrant warrior

Secretary of State Kris Kobach is a Kansas native who fits the stereotype of the photogenic politician who’s viewed by classmates and colleagues as extremely gifted, intelligent, and politically opportunistic. He earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard, where he graduated first in his class in the Government Department. He also has a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal, as well as a master’s and doctorate degree in political science from Oxford University.

Kobach has deep roots in Kansas. He grew up in Topeka and graduated from a local high school in 1984. Returning to the state after completing his law degree, he passed the Kansas bar exam in 1995 and became a constitutional law professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City the following year. His first political success came in 1999, when he was elected to the city council of Overland Park, a southern suburb of Kansas City.

Kobach mounted a failed campaign for the state senate less than a year later, but in 2001 he won a White House Fellowship and went to Washington, D.C., to work in the office of Attorney General John Ashcroft, serving as Ashcroft’s chief adviser on immigration law. He remained at the Department of Justice (DOJ) after the fellowship ended. After September 11, he led the DOJ’s border-tightening efforts, including a program to register and fingerprint “high-risk” visitors to the United States. In 2003, Kobach returned to Kansas, and to his teaching position, and he began teaching immigration law in addition to constitutional law. In 2010, he was elected secretary of state of Kansas.

Kobach seems to have developed his distinctly anti-immigrant leanings early on. He was mentored at Harvard by the political science professor Samuel Huntington, who believed that Latino immigrants adversely affect American culture because of their refusal to assimilate. Huntington argued that the persistent influx of Latino newcomers—and their departure from American identity, rooted in the “Anglo-Protestant” worldview of its founders—threatened to divide the U.S. into a nation of two languages, cultures, and peoples.vii Kobach has also harbored higher political aspirations for some time, and within the conservative wing of the national GOP, his service in Ashcroft’s DOJ, along with his focus on immigration, are excellent bona fides. Until recently, the timing of his political rise to prominence also seemed to be an asset.

Cracks in the wall

The last overhaul of federal immigration law was in 1986. Since then, many of the most heated arguments in the immigration debate have taken place within the states. Much of the debate has centered on whether states should “crack down” on undocumented residents—by expanding and enforcing federal immigration laws that are already on the books—or enact harsh state-level laws. The latter approach usually attempts to discourage undocumented immigration by prohibiting unauthorized immigrants from working and renting apartments, and by creating barriers to their enrollment in state universities and colleges. It also effectively deputizes state and local law-enforcement officers as immigration agents who possess the authority to enforce federal immigration laws.

Kobach has been an enthusiastic and aggressive proponent of the state-based approach, focusing much of his time and advocacy over the last two decades on controversial proposals that expand the authority of states and localities to enforce federal immigration laws.viii In the process, he has attempted to systematically build a national persona as the reasoned, intellectually-sound proponent of anti-immigrant, pro-enforcement policies. He is eternally ready to weigh in on immigration and always prepared to give the media sound-bite-friendly quotes. His single-minded pursuit of anti-immigrant policies has served to make him the nemesis of immigrant-rights groups in courtrooms and state capitals nationwide.ix

Kobach crystallized his anti-immigrant, pro-enforcement ethos via Arizona’s Senate Bill (S.B.) 1070—a law that he helped write and, after its passage in 2010, proceeded to export to Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Utah. It took conservatives’ states’ rights ethos to an unprecedented level with respect to immigration enforcement. S.B. 1070 explicitly allowed law enforcement (both state and local) to verify the immigration status of anyone it had “reasonable suspicion” to believe was in the United States illegally; made it a state crime to lack valid immigration status; criminalized seeking work on the street; and made it a crime to “harbor or transport” anyone who is undocumented. By essentially requiring states to take on enforcing federal immigration laws, S.B. 1070 also dramatically expanded the number of undocumented immigrants being swept into an increasingly privatized immigration-detention system run by powerful corporations with much to gain from expanding this approach.

Kobach claims credit for drafting the first version of S.B. 1070 in 2009. He found a willing partner to disseminate his model in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a shadowy nonprofit organization that brings together state legislators with powerful corporations on its private advisory board. The organization is responsible for bringing “Stand Your Ground” laws and voter ID legislation to states across the nation.x Draft legislation that outlined the bill’s components was first presented to ALEC members in early 2010 by former State Sen. Russell Pearce (R-AZ), a leading anti-immigrant legislator. Pearce had close ties to the anti-immigrant advocacy group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR),xi and he also played a leading role in ALEC. Its now-defunct Public Safety and Elections Task Force, of which Pearce was a member, was the first entity to view the draft legislation that would be reproduced almost verbatim in S.B. 1070. In March 2010, Pearce introduced the bill in the Arizona State Legislature. Even as it was being debated, and before the U.S. Supreme Court struck much of it down in June 2012, Kobach began touring other states and meeting with conservative legislators to emphasize that it was a sound, state-based approach to immigration enforcement.xii

This swelling tide of anti-immigrant rhetoric and legislation has had the interesting effect of actually reducing the number of nativist groups in the United States. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports that the number fell by roughly 42 percent in 2011, after five straight years of growth.xiii The reason? The anti-immigrant bills being considered in state legislatures provided nativists with a more legitimate forum for their views.

But now the tide of anti-immigration fervor seems to be receding, in part due to the GOP’s drubbing in the 2012 elections. The Republican Party’s official 2012 platform included an ‘English-only’ provision, and it explicitly supported Arizona’s Kobach-inspired S.B. 1070 law. Kobach, in fact, was an “informal advisor” to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Romney, after welcoming Kobach’s support early in his campaign, tried to downplay the extent of the relationship as the election neared.xiv Partly in reaction to the GOP’s anti-immigrant stance in general and Romney’s dubious influences in particular, Hispanics decisively rejected his candidacy. Romney carried only 27 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012. George W. Bush, by contrast, carried 44 percent of that vote in 2004.xv In the wake of that result, the party known for its support of states’ rights is moderating its hard-edged rhetoric on immigration policy and backing away from a state-based approach.

Not everyone is on board with this softer approach, of course, and a significant element within the Tea Party is still loyal to Kobach’s agenda. In March, for example, in a hearing focused on repealing (reduced) in-state tuition for undocumented college students, some Republicans sounded as harsh as ever. Kobach said the state needed to “stop using taxpayer money to subsidize an illegal workforce,” and State Rep. Allan Rothlisberg claimed that “parents are using their children as pawns in this effort.”xvi And during his 2012 campaign, State Sen. Tom Arpke posted the Kansas Republican Party platform to his website. It demanded that the “incentive programs to entice illegal immigrants to Kansas must be terminated. These programs include issuing of Driver’s Licenses to illegal aliens and the granting of in-state tuition to colleges and universities to illegal immigrants.”xvii

But on the whole, Republican leaders in Kansas and at the national level have changed their public rhetoric on immigration.xviii The U.S. House Immigration Caucus recently elected a new leader, Texas Rep. Ted Poe, but it has largely remained silent on immigration reform. A former member of the Caucus’s executive committee, Poe was chosen over Rep. Lou Barletta, a noted anti-immigrant voice who parlayed his track record of enacting anti-immigrant local ordinances in Hazelton, PA, into a successful Congressional campaign. Rep. Poe points to the need for a federal solution, and he has little to say about state-level efforts to “crack down” on undocumented immigrants. Though in the past he has compared immigration enforcement to catching “illegal grasshoppers from Brazil,”xix he appears to be toeing the GOP’s new line, at least for the moment.

Even some Tea Party stalwarts, such as U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), are now calling for broad federal immigration reform.xx They appear to be at least nominally open to plans that include a path to citizenship for undocumented residents and that allow more immigrants to come to the United States. They have also supported a guest worker program that recently won support from organized labor groups, and they’re steering away from expressing support for the kind of harsh, enforcement-only approach that Kobach endorses. In a curious twist, Kobach seems to be at odds with his party—and with the Kansas political establishment—on the very issue that fueled his rise to power and influence.xxi

Enter Sam Brownback

Sam Brownback, the current governor of Kansas, was appointed to fill Bob Dole’s vacant U.S. Senate seat in 1996, when Dole resigned to begin his presidential campaign. Brownback was elected in 1998 and re-elected in 2004, and in 2007, he mounted a campaign for the GOP’s presidential nomination. He finished third in the Ames (Iowa) Straw Poll in August 2007—a disappointing result, since he was considered a frontrunner at the time—and he dropped out of the race two months later. He is widely expected to run for the GOP’s presidential nomination again in 2016, when he will be 59.

Brownback is an adroit and affable politician and a veteran political operator who likes to be in control of the political debate. Viewed as an elder statesman in Kansas, he has maintained a strong presence in the state capitol since his election to governor in 2010—milling around the hallways, chatting with lobbyists, and interacting with voters. Since his run for the GOP nomination in 2008 he has moved, along with much of his party, further to the right in his small-government, antitax, antichoice views.

On immigration, though, Brownback’s views diverge from the most conservative elements within his party, and he was a co-sponsor of the Senate’s immigration reform bill in 2006. A Roman Catholic who nonetheless attends a nondenominational, evangelical Christian church, Brownback was reportedly drawn to the idea by his faith. The right-wing Center for Immigration Studies derided him as “Amnesty Sam” for his support of the bill.xxii Brownback has remained silent for much of his term on Kobach’s anti-immigrant proposals.

That may be changing. As the national GOP increasingly leans into the issue and accepts the need for comprehensive immigration reform, Brownback appears to be breaking his silence and setting up a political tug of war between himself and Kris Kobach. Brownback has said of immigration policy, for example, that “I think it’s primarily a federal issue”xxiii—a direct rebuttal of Kobach’s state-level approach.

Brownback is apparently sensitive to the possibility that disagreements over immigration policy could split the Kansas GOP.xxiv He reportedly believes that in order to successfully establish a larger profile and establish his credentials as a national political player, he must avoid polarizing social issues, such as immigration and abortion. In that context, Kobach poses a significant political threat to him. As Holly Weatherford of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri notes, “There is really only room in the national spotlight for one person from Kansas. The governor wants [to be] that, and many party loyalists get that Kobach is the wrong direction for the party.”xxv

Kobach’s public statements, meanwhile, are increasingly strident and aligned with the most conservative wing of the Kansas Republican Party. Early this year, he outlined his immigration priorities for Kansas in 2013. They include legislation to impose the federal E-Verify system—which checks the eligibility of employees to work in the United States and flags those who appear to be undocumented—on all workers and industries in the state; legislation to mandate state and local enforcement of federal immigration laws, in the manner of Arizona’s S.B. 1070; and more rigorous enforcement of existing state and federal laws that bar undocumented immigrants from accessing public benefits. He also wants to repeal Kansas’s longstanding tuition equity law, in place since 2004, which allows undocumented students who graduate from the state’s high schools to pay the same in-state tuition rates to attend state colleges and universities as U.S. citizens and immigrants with legal status.

While Kobach remains a national figure in the anti-immigrant movement, his influence within the Republican political establishment appears to be waning. A recent appearance by noted Republican antitax activist Grover Norquist at an event on immigration, sponsored by the Kansas State Chamber of Commerce, highlights the growing divide between Kobach and the state GOP, along with the Kansas business establishment. At the event, Norquist said of Kobach’s ideas that “people can get attention with outrageous positions … but it’s not constructive for the country. It’s not constructive for the modern Republican Party.”xxvi

The rift is in large part due to the influence of the Chamber of Commerce, whose members have much to lose from Kobach’s agenda: notably, their workforce and the state’s business-friendly reputation. Kobach is “way too extreme” for them, according to Tamar Jacoby, President of ImmigrationWorksUSA, a national organization that works closely with Republicans and the business sector on state and federal immigration policy.xxvii The GOP-dominated state legislature has in fact largely shied away from broad anti-immigrant bills, defeating several such proposals over the past few years.

Odd bedfellows

The critical role that immigrant residents play in Kansas’ workforce has clearly informed the attitude of powerful corporations and business associations. In order to keep profit margins up and industry running smoothly, the state’s businesses need a steady workforce that will keep their farms running and meatpacking plants processing. This largely accounts for their historical lack of interest in enforcement-only policies and employee-verification programs, such as the federal E-Verify database, which is currently optional and is designed to flag those who are not authorized to work in the U.S. because they lack valid immigration status. It has an error-rate of more than 50 percent.xxviii

Michael O’Neal, the current President and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and former Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives, is emblematic of the state GOP’s protectionist stance on immigration. Advocates report that O’Neal, though once “terribly anti-immigrant,” experienced a change of heart on immigration over the course of the last two years. As two longtime members of the Kansas GOP political establishment, O’Neal and Brownback have reportedly maintained a close alliance for some time, united by their antichoice and antitax beliefs. One of O’Neal’s major accomplishments in his final term was passing a massive overhaul to the state’s tax code, which eliminated most corporate taxes.xxix In his current role as CEO of the state’s Chamber of Commerce, O’Neal has recently been instrumental behind the scenes, organizing the state’s business leaders to explicitly discredit Kobach. In a recent interview, O’Neal urged the U.S. Congress to broach immigration reform and expressed concern that anti-immigrant, pro-enforcement bills would have a “chilling effect on our pro-jobs agenda.”xxx

Rather than pursuing other anti-immigrant proposals in Kansas, the state’s business interests continue to work to moderate the debate in the state legislature. In fact, business leaders and moderate Republicans have united in the past two years to advance a surprisingly inventive and relatively progressive state temporary worker bill, one which predates the current federal proposal and indeed improves upon it.

In 2012, the Kansas Business Coalition for Immigration Reform, a coalition of business groups that includes the state’s Chamber of Commerce, introduced one of the nation’s most inventive efforts to allow undocumented residents to legally work in the state. Clearly reflective of agribusiness’s need for labor, the proposal would have created a state-based temporary-worker program that wouldn’t tie workers to a specific employer. It would have also shielded them from deportation by having Kansas vouch for them with the federal government while allowing them to work legally in the state. Though it is questionable whether the bill is constitutional—and it did not advance beyond committee in the legislature—it provided a way for the state’s business interests to articulate their priorities on immigration, shifting the debate away from punitive enforcement. The proposal was reintroduced in the state legislature on January 24. By far the most progressive temporary worker bill in the nation, it has played an important role in funneling support away from the state’s S.B. 1070 copycat proposal, toward a more reasonable and marginally pro-immigrant approach.

Advocates now express cautious hope that key committees in the legislature will follow the precedent of the past two years. In the Kansas Senate, two key committees generally consider all immigration proposals, and they’re likely to be a barrier to anti-immigrant proposals, particularly given their leadership’s ties to the Chamber of Commerce and Gov. Brownback. The powerful Federal and State Affairs Committee, for example, is chaired by Senator Ralph Ostmeyer, a western Kansas farmer and rancher—and someone who looks out for the state’s agricultural interests, including their need for immigrant workers.

Wedging the opposition

State and national immigrant rights and civil liberties groups welcome using the Kansas state guest worker proposal as a method to wedge the opposition, but they are skeptical about the considerable role agribusiness plays in immigration, both at the state and national level.

Business interests’ preoccupation with guaranteeing a steady stream of low-wage workers has resulted in widespread worker exploitation in the past, notably in the Bracero program, which recruited Mexican and Caribbean workers to fuel the postwar boom in the United States from 1942 to ‘64. The program, which allowed braceros to legally work in the United States, nevertheless tied them to their current employer, resulting in workers being defrauded of wages and working in conditions described by a U.S. Department of Labor officer in charge of the program as “legalized slavery.”xxxi

Some of the recent debate in the House has raised particularly troubling questions about business interests pushing Senate Republicans toward prioritizing labor-based immigration over continuing the current family-based immigration system (which nonetheless usually translates into U.S. citizens waiting years for their loved ones to join them). Advocates also point to grave concerns about what any forthcoming reform will require regarding immigration enforcement on the U.S.-Mexico border as a prerequisite to legalizing undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.xxxii This focus on “border security” comes even as the nation’s southern border continues to see steadily declining numbers of immigrants attempting to enter the United States.

Many immigrant-rights groups remain apprehensive about other enforcement components likely to be included in any federal legislation, including the controversial “Secure Communities” program, which has resulted in the deportation of more than 400,000 people each year (many of whom haven’t committed a crime),xxxiii and E-Verify, a flawed system that’s supposed to flag those who are unauthorized to work in the United States.

Of course, the interests of agribusiness do not include protecting workers from exploitation and clearly do not include a commitment to keeping immigrant families together. Given the role of corporations in the legislative process, any reform that is achieved in the near term might be better than the status quo, but it will be less than ideal. On the other hand, the Chamber of Commerce and its interest in limited immigration reform might open a path toward more sweeping and positive reform, if activists succeed in organizing and leveraging their power, as they’re now doing in Kansas.

The growth in Kansas’s Latino population has not yet translated into political muscle-flexing, but advocates intend to change that. “We’ve got to organize so that increasing size translates to increasing political power,” said Melinda Lewis, a state lobbyist who has worked on immigration issues in the past.xxxiv She’s now the co-chair of Kansas Stronger Together, a coalition of community and advocacy groups that support immigrant rights.

While establishment Republicans across the nation are increasingly voicing their support for federal immigration reform and a (long and arduous) path to citizenship for the nation’s undocumented immigrants, conservative anti-immigrant voices have hardly been silenced. NumbersUSA recently announced a major, statewide ad buy targeting a powerful Republican, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.xxxv Graham is one of the U.S. Senate’s “gang of eight,” a bipartisan group calling for comprehensive immigration reform and working to draft legislation along those lines. NumbersUSA also announced plans for ad buys targeting the seven other members of the group, including Republican senators Marco Rubio, John McCain, and Jeff Flake. Radio host Rush Limbaugh announced earlier this year that “it’s up to me and Fox News” to halt federal immigration reform.xxxvi

Seeing an opportunity to exploit the growing dissonance between Kobach and mainstream Republicans in Kansas, many of the state’s immigrant-rights and social-justice groups have been working to combat Kobach’s agenda on immigration and voter ID. Sunflower Community Action (SCA), a Kansas organizing group, has focused considerable time and energy on a campaign to paint Kobach as an irresponsible public official intent on using his elected office to pursue an agenda that will hurt the state’s residents as a whole.xxxvii After realizing that most of the state’s voters don’t have a deep understanding of immigration policy, and that a public message pushing back against the “self-deportation” model didn’t “resonate with mainstream Kansans,” Sunflower has focused its organizing and media efforts on Kobach’s work to pass a voter ID law.xxxviii

The law, which passed the Kansas State Legislature in 2011, requires proof of U.S. citizenship from anyone registering to vote in Kansas for the first time, and a photo ID from anyone casting a vote. Sunflower realized the importance of educating native-born voters about the ultimate consequences of such laws: widespread disenfranchisement of the state’s electorate. Elderly, low-income and African-American voters disproportionately lack government documents, such as passports and birth certificates, that verify their US citizenship. Requiring such documents likely shuts many potential voters out of the electoral process.xxxix

Galvanized into action, SCA formed KanVote—a coalition of roughly 30 organizations spanning faith, labor, good-government, and community groups across the state. SCA realized that the proof of citizenship requirement would seriously limit its (and many other groups’) ability to register voters in advance of a momentous presidential election, all because of a voter-fraud problem that is negligible.xl Louis Goseland, SCA’s director of organizing, noted that it was critical to “integrate mainstream Kansans into broader organizing efforts” aimed at Kobach through the KanVote campaign.xli

KanVote represents a set of new alliances for SCA. The partners coalesced around a campaign focused on Kobach’s “dereliction of duty,” alleging that after he came to statewide elected office, he immediately used his power against the state. They noticed that Kobach maintained a high level of popularity with voters until he began administering elections—and then his approval rating plunged to 34 percent.xlii They saw vulnerability and an opportunity to build a broader coalition beyond immigration issues to combat Kobach’s dogged pursuit of voter ID in the state, and realized that they needed to make their efforts to target Kobach about more than immigration.

The group sought to outline the shared interest of all the state’s voters, both immigrant and native-born, in safeguarding a fair and user-friendly election process. As Goseland says, “We told folks throughout the state that Kobach’s election law expanded the harm he was doing to the state as a whole. People began to be concerned; concern turned into criticism; and criticism turned into action. . . . Now people, voters, and taxpayers are asking themselves why they’re paying Kobach just so he can screw up our elections and run around the country building his political career.”xliii

SCA and the other members of KanVote are seeking to leverage the momentum against Kobach by introducing two bills this session to remove all restrictions for registered voters to cast their votes. One proposal would repeal the proof of citizenship requirement for newly-registered voters—a direct response to Kobach’s voter ID law.

In a state like Kansas, where immigrant voters still account for a small sector of the electorate, it appears increasingly important to equate anti-immigrant policies with divisive politics that damage the state as a whole. As Melinda Lewis said: “I’m interested in people believing that following his prescription for the state will bring moral, economic, and social ruin.”xliv


i John Fund, “Kansas Tea Party Triumphs,” The Corner (blog), National Review Online, August 8, 2012, http://web.archive.org/web/20121022055648/http:/www.nationalreview.com/corner/313391/kansass-tea-party-triumphs-john-fund.

ii Dion Lefler, “Bills to crack down on illegal immigrants expected when Kansas Legislature convenes,” Wichita Eagle, Jan. 4, 2013, http://www.kansas.com/2013/01/04/2624888/bills-to-crack-down-on-illegal.html.

iiiChris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan, “Why a “path to citizenship” remains politically perilous for Republicans,” The Fix (blog), Washington Post , April 3, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/04/03/why-a-path-to-citizenship-remains-politically-perilous-for-republicans/?hpid=z4

iv See http://www.pewhispanic.org/states/county/20175.

v See http://www.pewhispanic.org/states/county/2005.

vi Ken Stephens, “The difference-makers: Hispanics have big impact on Kansas’ population growth,” Hutchinson News, http://www.hutchnews.com/Todaystop/Hispanic-Census–1.

vii Samuel P. Huntington, “The Hispanic Challenge,” Foreign Policy, March 1, 2004, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2004/03/01/the_hispanic_challenge.

viii See James Hohmann, “GOP platform gets tougher on immigration,” Politico, August 21, 2012,

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79958.html#.UDP1jKU6kQc.twitter.

ix See Amy Novick, “Immigration’s 10 Worst State and Local Politicians,” Latino Voices (blog), Huffington Post, June 2, 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-novick/immigrations-10-worst-sta_b_1558832.html.

x See Joanne Doroshow, The secretive corporate outfit behind ‘Stand Your Ground,’” Reuters, April 13, 2012, http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/04/13/the-secretive-corporate-outfit-behind-stand-your-ground/.

xi See Laurie Lebo, “Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Law S.B. 1070: Where Did It Come From, Where Is It Going,” Public Eye, Summer 2011, http://www.archive-publiceye.org/magazine/v26n2/Arizona_Anti-Immigrant_Law_SB1070.html.

xii See “Kobach’s Voter Tour,” got voter id?, http://www.gotvoterid.com/tour.html.

xiii Mark Potok, “The ‘Patriot’ Movement Explodes,” Intelligence Report, Spring 2012, http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/the-year-in-hate-and-extremism.

xiv Peter Hamby, “Romney: I haven’t met with immigration adviser Kobach,” Political Ticker (blog), CNN Politics, September 17, 2012, http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/17/romney-i-havent-met-with-immigration-adviser-kobach/.

xv Chris Cillizza, “The Republican Problem with Hispanic voters—in 7 charts,” March 18, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/03/18/the-republican-problem-with-hispanic-voters-in-7-charts/. See also “Latino Voters in the 2012 Election,” Pew Hispanic Center, November 7, 2012, http://www.pewhispanic.org/files/2012/11/2012_Latino_vote_exit_poll_analysis_final_11-07-12.pdf.

xvi Scott Rothschild, Sides clash in hearing on bill that would repeal in-state tuition for undocumented students,” Lawrence Journal-World, March 20, 2013, http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/mar/20/sides-clash-hearing-bill-would-repeal-state-tuitio/.

xvii “Republican Party Platform,” Tom Arpke for Senate, http://arpkeforsenate.com/index.php/republican-party-platform/.

xviii Matt Hershberger, “Getting to a Citizenship Consensus,” Immigration Impact, January 24, 2013, http://immigrationimpact.com/2013/01/24/getting-to-a-citizenship-consensus/.

xix Walid, Zafar, “Rep. Ted Poe Compares Immigrants to Grasshoppers,” Political Correction (blog), Media Matters Action Network, April 30, 2010, http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201004300001.

xx Peter Weber, “Why Rand Paul Evolved on Immigration Reform,” The Week, March 19, 2013, http://theweek.com/article/index/241525/why-rand-paul-evolved-on-comprehensive-immigration-reform. See also Matthew Kaminski, “The Weekend Interview with Marco Rubio: Riding to the Immigration Rescue,” Wall Street Journal, January 14, 2013, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323442804578235844003050604.html.

xxi Neil King, Jr., “Immigration Splits GOP, Business Groups in Kansas,” Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2013, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323301104578258033082326550.html.

xxii “Sam Brownback, Right Web, Institute for Policy Studies, August 15, 2012, http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Brownback_Sam.

xxiii Steve Rothschild, “Kobach: Immigration bills likely in next legislative session,” Baldwin City Signal, November 26, 2012, http://signal.baldwincity.com/news/2012/nov/26/kobach-immigration-bills-likely-next-legislative-s/.

xxiv King, “Immigration Splits GOP, Business Groups in Kansas,” Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2013. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323301104578258033082326550.html

xxv Holly Weatherford, telephone interview with author, January 22, 2013.

xxvi “Tax Crusader Norquist Blasts Immigration Crackdowns; Kansas’ Kobach Says He Should Stick to Taxes,” Wichitopekington (blog), Wichita Eagle, January 16, 2013, http://blogs.kansas.com/gov/2013/01/16/tax-crusader-norquist-blasts-immigration-crackdowns-kansas-kobach-says-he-should-stick-to-taxes/.

xxvii Tamar Jacoby, telephone interview with author, January 9, 2013.

xxviii “Messaging Resource: How to Talk About the Burdensome, Job-Killing E-Verify Mandate,” Progressive States Network, http://www.progressivestates.org/sync/pdfs/E-Verify%20Messaging%20Resource%202.15.12.pdf.

xxix John Celock, “Mike O’Neal, Kansas House Speaker, Announces Retirement,” Huffington Post, June 1, 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/01/mike-oneal-kansas-house-speaker-retirement_n_1562891.html.

xxx Don Lefler, “Bills to Crack Down on Illegal Immigration Expected When Legislature Convenes,” January 4, 2013, http://www.kansas.com/2013/01/04/2624888/bills-to-crack-down-on-illegal.html#storylink=cpy.

xxxi “The Bracero Program,” The Farmworkers Website, http://www.farmworkers.org/bracerop.html.

xxxii See, for example, the “border security” measures discussed in Julia Preston and Ashley Parker, “Broad Outline of Senate Immigration Agreement Emerge”, New York Times, April 10, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/11/us/politics/bipartisan-group-of-senators-agrees-on-outline-of-immigration-bill.html?hp&_r=1&_r=1&pagewanted=all&.

xxxiii “Removal Statistics,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, http://www.ice.gov/removal-statistics.

xxxiv Melinda Lewis, telephone interview with author, January 21, 2013.

xxxv Matthew Auerbach, “Anti-Immigration Group Targets Graham,” Newsmax, February 26, 2013, http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/graham-target-anti-immigration/2013/02/26/id/492186.

xxxvi Brett LoGiurato, “Rush Limbaugh: ‘It’s up to Me and Fox News’ to Stop Immigration Reform,” Business Insider, January 28, 2013, http://www.businessinsider.com/rush-limbaugh-immigration-reform-fox-news-obama-2013-1.

xxxvii Van Le, “Sunflower Community Action Demonstrates Against Kris Kobach: “His Policies Do Not Represent Kansas Values,” America’s Voice, March 4, 2013, http://americasvoiceonline.org/blog/sunflower-community-action-demonstrates-against-kris-kobach-his-policies-do-not-represent-kansas-values/.

xxxviii Dion Lefler, “Voting-rights group demands Kobach resignation,” Wichita Eagle, November 16, 2012, http://www.kansas.com/2012/11/16/2570879/voting-rights-group-demands-kobach.html.

xxxix Lawrence Norden and Wendy Weiser, “Voting Law Changes in 2012”, Brennan Center for Justice, October 3, 2011, http://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/Democracy/VRE/Brennan_Voting_Law_V10.pdf

xl Justin Levitt, “The Truth About Voter Fraud,” Brennan Center for Justice, November 9, 2007, http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/truthaboutvoterfraud/.

xli Louis Goseland, telephone interview with author, January 18, 2013.

xlii Phillip Brownlee, “Polling Isn’t the Problem,Wichita Eagle, February 28, 2012, http://www.kansas.com/2012/02/29/2234505/polling-isnt-the-problem.html.

xliii Louis Goseland, telephone interview with author, January 18, 2013.

xliv Melinda Lewis, telephone interview with author, January 21, 2013.

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