Kris Kobach rejects criticism for speaking at a ‘white nationalist’ conference

Kris Kobach
Kris Kobach

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach shot back Tuesday at criticism that he participated in a conference run by a “white nationalist” group.

Kobach was a presenter at a writers workshop last week for The Social Contract Press, a publishing house that the Southern Poverty Law Center includes on its list of hate groups under the category “anti-immigrant.”

The law center charges the group with publishing race-baiting articles.

Kobach said criticism of the conference, held in Washington, D.C., was “outrageous.” It included many minority presenters, including Hispanics and African-Americans, he said.

“According to the SPLC, if you’re against illegal immigration, you’re a racist,” said Kobach.

The SPLC says “hateful, false things,” he said. “They’re unethical smear artists.”

The conservative Kobach has authored tough immigration enforcement laws and fought states that offered in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants.

He championed Kansas’ strict voter registration law, which requires proof-of-citizenship documents. And he’s a frequent speaker nationally for conservative groups.

But the SPLC maintains The Social Contract Press isn’t merely against illegal immigration.

Policies the group advocates are racially motivated, said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, such as the idea of banning all Muslims from immigrating to the United States because they’re likely terrorists.

Other examples cited by SPLC: that Latino activists want to “reclaim” the American Southwest and that multiculturalists want to replace “successful Euro-American culture” with “dysfunctional Third World cultures.”

“The Social Contract Press has published white nationalists and racists for years,” Beirich said. “It’s simply not believable that Secretary Kobach is unfamiliar with the publication’s history.”

Maria Espinoza, co-founder and national director of The Remembrance Project, also spoke at The Social Contract Press workshop and called SPLC’s criticism “silly.”

The Remembrance Project advocates for citizens killed by illegal immigrants. Being against illegal immigration isn’t racist, said Espinoza, whose father was from Mexico.

“If you’re against ‘illegal,’ that means you’re for the law and that you want stability in our society,” she said.

Edward M. Eveld: 816-234-4442, @EEveld