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Kansas Secretary of State-elect to continue immigration fight in Nebraska

Kris Kobach earned a new title Nov. 2 when he was elected Kansas Secretary of State, behind a campaign promise to require voters to provide proof of citizenship — despite no proof that the seven cases of voter fraud reported in the last five years involved undocumented immigrants. But titles have never really defined the University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor and former state Republican Party chair . Kobach's best known as the attorney and author behind controversial immigration laws in Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, Texas and Nebraska. When cities and states want to ”get tough” on immigration, Kobach frequently gets on board. And it appears his new elected position won't stop his crusade. Fremont Mayor Scott Getzschman says Kobach would continue to serve as lead counsel in the city’s legal fight over an ordinance penalizing landlords and employers for renting to or hiring illegal immigrants, even after he takes office Jan. 10. The law, approved by Fremont voters in June, awaits an injunction hearing in U.S. District Court, likely to come early next year. On Nov. 29, District Judge Laurie Smith Camp gave city attorneys a Jan. 21 deadline to file arguments against the injunction. A similar law in Hazleton, Pa., also authored in part by Kobach, was thrown out by a federal judge in September. As part of the ruling, Hazleton was required to pay the plaintiff’s nearly $2.4 million in legal fees. The city of Fremont estimates it will pay up to $750,000 per year to defend its city ordinance. Kobach also awaits a court date for a lawsuit filed in Fairbury challenging Nebraska’s state law granting in-state tuition to children of undocumented immigrants. Two previous lawsuits challenging tuition rates for immigrants in Kansas and California were shot down this year, but Kobach vowed to continue the fight in a Dec. 2 op-ed in The Wichita Eagle. “It makes no sense to hand this valuable subsidy to illegal aliens when so many U.S. citizens can't afford to attend college — even at the in-state rates,” he says. “If we are going to subsidize anyone's tuition, let's help out our own citizens before we reward aliens who are breaking federal law by remaining in this country.” Kobach, nor his aides, replied to multiple requests for comment. This story has been amended: An earlier version stated incorrectly that Fremont estimated it would spend $2.4 million to defend its law. In fact, the city estimates it could spend up to $750,000. We regret the error.

posted at 09:37 pm
on Tuesday, December 07th, 2010

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