My Friday Night CNN Debate With Kris Kobach

Author: on 01/09/2012


Kris Kobach, anti-immigrant restrictionist lawyer and Kansas Secretary of State, claims to know something about immigration law, but in our Friday night CNN debate he was able to do little more than throw around phrases like “backdoor amnesty” and “illegal aliens”.  The subtext of these words is sinister–that America is under a Latino invasion which threatens our culture, language, and way of life.    Fixing America’s badly broken immigration system is not part of Kobach’s plan.  What he and his ilk want is to put an end to immigration, period.  And since they have no helpful plan for America, restrictionists like Kobach rely on ethnically charged words and phrases—like the ones used by Kobach on CNN.

Not surprisingly Kobach failed to articulate even a single immigration policy solution.  He started off by making the patently false claim that the proposed processing tweak announced by the Administration on Friday is “phase two” of an “amnesty”.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  In fact the proposed change will make it possible for the spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply for a family unity waiver while in the U.S.   It’s a technical adjustment that will keep American families safe and together during administrative processing.

And contrary to what Kobach said, not one letter of the law was changed.  The immigrants it would affect get nothing to which they were not already entitled.  To obtain the family unity waiver, applicants must still meet the strict letter of the law which requires they prove that family separation will cause their American citizen husband or wife extreme hardship.  Currently, these immigrants must spend months, even years, abroad waiting for the bureaucracy to process their waivers.  The proposed change will permit the waiver request to be decided stateside.  It will alleviate bureaucratic delay and reduce processing backlogs at U.S. embassies abroad.  It’s good government pure and simple.

At some level Kobach must have understood he couldn’t seriously argue with a processing fix that promotes legal immigration, keeps American families together, and protects the integrity of our borders.  Realizing he had nothing of substance to add to the debate, Kobach concluded with the phrase “we can all agree”, words used by those who know they not only have lost the argument but are on the wrong side of the issue with the listening audience.  It’s a time tested debate trick designed to fool the viewers into thinking he and I were not that different.

Fortunately we are.

I advocate for an immigration policy that protects American families, keeps the U.S. globally competitive, and restores civil liberties.  Kobach wants to spread the same climate of fear he helped create in states like Arizona and Alabama which have enacted hate filled anti-immigrant laws he helped write.

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