Editorials

No, Kris Kobach, Roeland Park is not Kansas’ first sanctuary city. It’s not one at all

For one-note Kris Kobach, illegal immigration is not just an issue but the one that makes his chest rise and fall.

So the nothing-has-even-happened-yet non-news that Roeland Park’s City Council has merely been discussing the possibility of creating a “safe and welcoming policy” for immigrants occasioned a visit from the Republican Senate candidate and former Kansas secretary of state. At a news conference, Kobach declared Roeland Park the first sanctuary city in the state — and one that if elected next year, he’d punish by restricting federal funding.

Good to know.

If Kobach spent less time twirling his moustache for the cameras and more time thinking about health care, or transportation, or the challenges facing the agriculture sector during this “easy to win” trade war, his campaign would be better off.

But for Kobach, all roads lead back to his animus against immigrants. On his campaign website, even his promise to “restore the U.S. Constitution,” to him involves changing how the census is done to ask about citizenship.

Immigration issues have defined Kobach and have made him either famous or infamous. They’ve enriched him, too: An investigation last year by The Star and ProPublica found that Kobach has been paid more than $800,000 for his legal and advocacy work on anti-immigration ordinances.

But it’s not clear that they’ve won him any races. On the contrary, his mono-focus on that issue lost him his 2004 congressional race. His all-immigration-all-the-time strategy did not win him the governor’s office, in the contest he lost last year to Democrat Laura Kelly.

His false claims about mostly mythical votes supposedly cast by undocumented immigrants did intrigue President Donald Trump, but even the White House soured on him after last year’s electoral debacle.

But, having learned nothing, here we are again.

Again, no ordinance in Roeland Park has even been drafted to prohibit the use of local law enforcement resources on federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions. City Administrator Keith Moody said he didn’t understand the misunderstanding: “I would be happy to provide him more insight. But he has not reached out to the city of Roeland Park.”

Nor will he, of course. Kobach instead called a news conference at which he bemoaned that “It’s a sad day for Kansas when one of its cities says we are putting the interests of illegal aliens over the safety of U.S. citizens in our city.”

“Many lives have been taken by illegal aliens in Kansas,” he said. “This sanctuary policy increases the chances that more lives will be lost.” In fact, there’s no evidence linking crime and immigration.

There’s no shortage of evidence that this issue still isn’t working for him, though. Kobach is trailing in early polling. And the finally-fed-up GOP wants nothing more to do with this charlatan.

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