Kris Kobach is the secretary of state of Kansas, but his influence on conservative immigration and voting rights policy can be felt across the country. Kobach helped to write Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant “show me your papers” law and has helped to shape—and defend in the courts—draconian immigration restrictions in states and municipalities across the country. He has also been a leader in the effort to restrict voting rights under the guise of eliminating voter fraud, often raising the specter of undocumented immigrants illegally swaying elections. He spearheaded one of the country’s most restrictive voting laws in Kansas and has advocated similar measures in states across the country.
After a stint working under John Ashcroft at the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration, Kobach joined the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), a legal affiliate of the nativist Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), where he still retains an “of counsel” position. He was elected to his position in Kansas in 2010. Kobach has advocated for the adoption of ultraconservative policies as a member of the GOP’s platform committee in 2012 and 2016, acting as an immigration adviser to Mitt Romney in 2012 and helping to shape Donald Trump‘s border wall policy in 2016. He hosted a weekly radio program in Kansas City, where he trafficked in conspiracy theories about President Obama and immigrants.