The recent federal court ruling halting President Barack Obama’s unilateral action to shield 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation presents a perfect opportunity for states to act, said Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Kansas lawmakers are considering a proposal to remind illegal immigrants aided by Obama’s executive action that they are still in the country illegally, regarding driver’s license and jobs.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach testifies on Capitol Hill (Photo: AP)
Kobach, who has been a national leader on combatting illegal immigration before serving in office, drafted a bill for the Kansas legislature to consider. He says the language of the bill is easily backed up by Texas U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling on Monday. The ruling sided with the 26 states suing the Obama administration. The Obama administration is appealing the ruling.
“The bill begins by declaring that the Obama executive action is illegal,” Kobach told TheBlaze.
Kansas is among the 26 states in the lawsuit seeking to overturn Obama’s executive action. Kobach is optimistic about the bill passing in a Republican legislature and getting the signature of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.
Kobach, who before taking office in Kansas was an author of the Arizona immigration law, said he has consulted lawmakers from a dozen other states about legislation to confront Obama’s executive action.
“This is a true constitutional crisis we are in now,” Kobach said. “The executive branch has seized power from Congress and ordered federal agents to disobey federal law. We need to see elements acting in this, and they are. The states, the courts and Congress are asserting themselves. If the executive branch gets away with this, it would leave in tatters our constitutional system.”
The bill that Kobach submitted to the state Senate would specifically not provide drivers licenses to anyone in the country illegally – even if they are given what amounts to legal status under the Obama executive actions. Further, the Kansas bill would ban work authorization for illegals, even if they were assisted by Obama’s action. Finally, employers would not be allowed to deduct state taxes from the wages of illegal immigrants they hire.
“We do not need to recognize this illegal amnesty as affecting Kansas,” Kobach said.
He said it does more than just uphold what the status quo would have been before the Obama action in November.
“When an alien is illegal here and they get a false Social Security number and try to use it to get a driver’s license, it is checked against the federal SAVE system at the DMV,” Kobach said. “Now, under Obama’s order, those with legal status, almost all will be getting a Social Security number. They will not be able use that to get a driver’s license legally here” if the bill passes.
The Obama administration sued the state of Arizona after it passed a law to allow police to ask people about their immigration status. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld most key provisions of Arizona’s law. Kobach said he didn’t know whether Kansas should expect blow back from the administration if it passes the bill.
“This is the first administration I know of that has tried to punish states for trying to enforce federal immigration law,” he said. “This would be a defensive action by a state. So it would be interesting to see how they would respond.”