Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican who is widely reported to have been the driving force behind the draconian anti-immigrant laws in Arizona, Alabama and other states, as well as the voter ID laws in a number of states which sought to disenfranchise minority US citizens in last November's election and still threaten to do so in future elections, has not given up his attachment to the chimera of "self-deportation" for 11 million Latino and other mainly minority unauthorized immigrants, even if it means self-destruction for his party.
Ignoring the election returns, which show that approximately 70 percent of Latino voters supported Barack Obama over *Mitt Romney, a figure which most Republicans realize would doom their party to extinction, Kobach, according to The Wichita Eagle (January 14) still opposes the "full monty" of immigration reform and favors "limited reform", such as stricter employer verification of workers' legal status. "Enforcement first" is a key part of the right wing "self-deportation" agenda.
The same paper also quotes Kobach as saying that the proposal to grant "citizenship" (i.e. legal status) is set up to divide Congress into groups for and against "amnesty" to make Democrats look like "champions" of the Latino "voting bloc".*The article goes on to say that Kobach believes that granting unauthorized immigrants a "path to citizenship" would add $2 trillion to the nation's debt as they become eligible for medicaid, medicare*and other benefits.*
Kobach also claims that increased tax revenues would not make up for the costs of legalization, because many of the people involved are low skill workers.*This is exactly the kind of rhetoric which would guarantee the Republican party a place alongside the Whig party in America's history books. For some Republicans, "self deportation" is still important enough to risk their party's disappearance.
But the more immediate question is how much of this far right wing anti-immigrant ideology may still find its way into the final version of an immigration reform bill which, like the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) might be enacted into law first and fully understood only many years later.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.