CNN noted this morning that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a prominent anti-immigrant activist, had successfully lobbied a Republican platform committee to include in the draft platform language explicitly endorsing Donald Trump’s call for a wall on the southern border. “The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic,” Kobach’s language states.
The language does not say who will pay for the wall, but the Washington Examiner quoted Kobach saying that he has consulted with Trump on how a border wall would be financed. That’s putting it mildly. As Miranda reported in April, Kobach said that hehelped write Trump’s plan to force Mexico to pay for the wall by threatening to seize money that people in the U.S. send to family and friends in Mexico. Kobach was also involved in the legal challenge to President Obama’s executive action to grant Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA); previously he helped write Arizona’s infamous “show me your papers law,” SB 1070.
Kobach was also on the 2012 platform committee. Here’s what we wrote about him then:
Kris Kobach wants to be your president one day; until now, he has gotten as far as Kansas Secretary of State. He may be best known as the brains behind Arizona’s “show me your papers” law, and he successfully pushed for anti-immigrant language in the platform, including a call for the federal government to deny funds to universities that allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition – a plank that puts Kobach and the platform at odds with Kansas law. Immigration is not Kobach’s only issue. He is an energizing force behind the Republican Party’s massive push for voter suppression laws around the country, and he led the effort to get language inserted into the platform calling on states to pass laws requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration. He also pushed language aimed at the supposed threat to the Constitution and laws of the US from “Sharia law”; getting this language into the platform puts the GOP in position of endorsing a ludicrous far-right conspiracy theory. Kobach hopes that will give activists a tool for pressuring more states to pass their own anti-Sharia laws. In the platform committee, he backed Perkins’ efforts to maintain the strongest language against marriage equality. Even an amendment to the marriage section saying that everyone should be treated “equally under the law” as long as they are not hurting anyone else, was shot down by Kobach. Kobach also claims he won support for a provision to oppose any effort to limit how many bullets can go into a gun’s magazine.
For what it’s worth, no less than Dan Stein, the head of the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform, whose legal arm Kobach is affiliated with, has said that Trump doesn’t intend to build a physical wall at all, saying that the wall is merely a rhetorical “surrogate” for other border control measures.