Kris Kobach, Secretary of State of Kansas, is a man with some unconventional hobbies. While most are content to convalesce with a book and a stiff drink, Kobach likes to craft harsh anti-immigrant legislation for states, cities and municipalities across the country—so much so, in fact, that the people of Kansas began to wonder if his leisurely litigation habit was superseding his job. Now it seems that Kobach is taking up another project in his dubious “free time,” defending a law for Farmers Branch, a suburb of Dallas, Texas.
In 2006, the City of Farmers Branch passed a law requiring landlords to verify the documented status of all tenants, enacting penalties for those who do not comply. Almost immediately after its passing, the law was blocked in a federal court, thereby miring the small suburb in legal bureaucracy for the better part of a decade. To date, this has cost Farmers Branch almost $5 million.
But, apparently, Kobach thinks the town could use a little more trouble.
Since the decision last month to uphold the ruling that blocked the law, Kobach has stated that the city will appeal to the 5th US Circuit Court in New Orleans—sure to be another costly maneuver. But Kobach really likes spending time at the 5th Circuit, perhaps even more than his family; last year, he took a day off of his normal duties to be with his wife before the birth of their daughter—a seemingly noble gesture until one realizes he actually spent the day testifying in New Orleans.
All of this comes less than one month after the implementation of another law written by Kobach: Fremont, Nebraska, set aside almost a half-million dollars to put the law to work, not to mention the legal fees and other such nonsense. Fremont has now altogether paid over $1 million, a flagrant “waste of money” that its citizens have begun to notice.
Clearly, these laws are costing more than they offer. While cash-strapped towns are goaded into thinking that immigrants are their problem, it’s really opportunists like Kobach who do the damage. So instead of allowing Kobach to practice his hobbies on their dime, Farmers Branch ought to say $5 million is enough, and enough is enough.