White House

Kris Kobach isn’t going to be Trump’s AG. But immigration hardliner may still get a job

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was a Donald Trump delegate to the Republican National Convention and now is interviewing with Trump on Sunday.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was a Donald Trump delegate to the Republican National Convention and now is interviewing with Trump on Sunday. AP

Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state whose hardline immigration stance has caught the attention of Donald Trump, will meet with the president-elect Sunday about taking a role in his administration.

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The two men will meet in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Trump is spending the weekend, transition spokesman Jason Miller said Saturday. Trump has been meeting with a variety of people since the election, both to interview for jobs and to seek advice.

“I can confirm that he’s meeting with Trump. I do not have information about which position,” said Desiree Taliaferro, Kobach’s spokeswoman. “And Kris is unavailable for comment because he’s en route to New Jersey."

Clay Barker, the executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, said that one of Trump’s campaign advisers told him Friday that “a decision about Kobach would be imminent.”

Barker said that he does not know what specific role Kobach could be up for, but said that he expects it will be related to immigration, the issue which Kobach advised Trump on throughout the campaign.

He’s a person of substance and intelligence and would be a great addition to the Trump administration.

Trump senior adviser on Kris Kobach

A senior Trump adviser expected Kobach to be “seriously considered for an important position” without elaborating on which position. “He’s a person of substance and intelligence and would be a great addition to the Trump administration,” said the adviser, who had knowledge of the situation but requested anonymity to be candid.

Kobach, already a member of Trump’s transition team, added Trump’s promise to build a wall along the Southern border to the Republican Party’s national platform. He had been talked about as a possible attorney general but that speculation ended Friday when Trump nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions for the job.

This week, Kobach told Fox News that the Trump administration will likely move to deport illegal immigrants upon arrest instead of the current policy of deporting those who have been convicted. He also told Reuters that Trump’s advisers were considering a national registry of immigrants and visitors from Muslim countries.

Kobach was the architect of one of the toughest immigration laws in the country, which he drafted when he was a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Kobach was the architect of one of the toughest immigration laws in the country, which he drafted when he was a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Arizona’s controversial 2010 SB-1070 law most notably requires law enforcement officers to demand to see the immigration papers of anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally, and has been denounced for encouraging racial profiling. SB 1070 has faced legal challenges since it was signed into law, and many of its provisions have been struck down.

He has been criticized for his legal work for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, an organization that says it is working to “reduce the harmful impact of uncontrolled immigration.” In 2014, his Democratic opponent, Jean Schodorf, called him an “extremist” and accused him of having ties to white nationalist groups, which he called “an outrageous accusation.”

The outspoken conservative has served as Kansas secretary of state since 2011, championing stricter voting laws and gaining the power to prosecute election crimes last year.

The outspoken conservative has served as Kansas secretary of state since 2011, championing stricter voting laws and gaining the power to prosecute election crimes last year.

Kobach traces his focus on illegal immigration back to his time at the Justice Department working under Attorney General John Ashcroft, whom he calls his most important mentor. He started working for Ashcroft the week the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, tasked with investigating loopholes in the immigration system.

He has said that the impulse to restrict immigration dates to the founding fathers, referring to the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts passed during John Adams’ presidency and notes that some immigrants were turned away at Ellis Island.

Lowry, of the Wichita Eagle, reported from Topeka, Kansas. Lindsay Wise contributed to this story from Washington.

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