Barbara Shelly

Kris Kobach gins up fears about Obama, immigrants with 'ethnic cleansing' scenario

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in official capacity.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in official capacity. The Associated Press

Ahead of President Barack Obama’s speech on immigration, Right Wing Watch and Talking Points Memo have published some statements Kansas Secretary of State Kobach made last weekend on his radio talk show.

First check out a question from a caller, who apparently sees Kobach as a sympathetic ear for concerns about America being overrun by immigrants.

“What happens, if you know your history, when one culture or one race or one religion overwhelms another culture or race?” the caller asked. “When one race or culture overwhelms another culture, they run them out or they kill them.”

Kobach made the connection immediately. The caller was worried about ethnic cleansing.

“What protects us in America from any kind of ethnic cleansing is the rule of law, of course,” Kobach said. “And the rule of law used to be unassailable, used to be taken for granted in America. And now, of course, we have a President who disregards the law when it suits his interests. And, so, you know, while I normally would answer that by saying, ‘Steve, of course we have the rule of law, that could never happen in America,’ I wonder what could happen. I still don't think it’s going to happen in America, but I have to admit, that things are, things are strange and they’re happening.”

Wow. Talk about an official acting irresponsibly. Here you have the Kansas secretary of state saying on the radio that maybe ethic cleansing is a possibility in America because he disagrees with something the president is doing.

If Kobach “knew his history,” as Steve the caller put it, he would have mentioned that it’s very common for presidents to issue executive orders, and Obama does it less than most presidents. Here’s the list, courtesy of PBS NewsHour.

When it was compiled, in June, Obama was averaging one executive order for every 10.79 days in office. That tracks closely with George W. Bush, and you have to go all the way back to Grover Cleveland to find a president who issued executive orders with less frequency.

Bill Clinton issued an executive order every 8.03 days. For Ronald Reagan, it was every 7.67 days. Richard Nixon issued an order on the average of every 5.86 days; Harry Truman every 3.13 days and Franklin D. Roosevelt every 1.26 days.

Kobach undoubtedly does know this. With his answer, he’s playing into fears that certain people have about Obama and immigrants.

Kobach also told his listeners there’s a long-term strategy to turn illegal immigrants into U.S. citizens and legal voters so they can move the U.S. toward socialism.

“The long term strategy of, first of all, replacing American voters with illegal aliens, recently legalized, who then become U.S. citizens,” Kobach said. “There is still a decided bias in favor of bigger government not smaller government. So maybe this strategy of replacing American voters with newly legalized aliens, if you look at it through an ethnic lens, ... you’ve got a locked in vote for socialism.”

Oh, right. The move to halt deportations isn’t about keeping families together, or strengthening the U.S. economy, or using law enforcement resources wisely. It’s really all a socialistic agenda.

Ridiculous. But demagogic. Kobach is ginning up fears and resentment toward immigrants. But he won his recent election handily, so, sadly, there’s some political gain in that.

To reach Barbara Shelly, call 816-234-4594 or send email to On Twitter @bshelly.