EDITORIALS The Kansas City Star
John Hanna The Associated Press
The Social Contract Press is a quarterly journal with cover titles such as “The Menace of Islam,” “Victims of Immigration” and “Refugee Racket.” It is blatantly xenophobic and holds a spot on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups.
Any sensible politician would avoid having anything to do with it.
Yet there was Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, proudly participating in a writer’s workshop sponsored by the group last week in Washington, D.C.
Kobach’s appearance was first flagged by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a longstanding civil rights group.
Kobach calls critics at the law center “unethical smear artists” who are quick to apply the “racist” label to any group that is opposed to illegal immigration. The SPLC and the publisher of The Social Contract Press, John Tanton, have been trading accusations for years.
As a Kansas statewide official, Kobach is foolish and wrong to step into the midst of the feud. He needs to remember that he represents all Kansans, including those who are immigrants or a generation or two removed.
Tanton and The Social Contract Press have done plenty to alienate those groups.
Tanton is a frank advocate of restricting almost all immigration as a means of population control and countering a long-term trend toward a more multicultural United States.
He has founded a variety of activist groups to resist immigration reform measures in Congress and elsewhere. The best known is the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which helped draft Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant law.
Kobach has long been comfortable in extremist circles. His association with FAIR has been known for years, for example.
When running for his first term, Kobach campaigned alongside Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is notorious for harsh law enforcement measures against immigrants and was found by a federal judge to have systematically profiled Latinos during traffic stops.
Sadly, those affiliations have not harmed Kobach’s political career and may even have helped it. But by nurturing them, he participates in the harassment and marginalization of some of the very citizens he is sworn to represent.
That’s despicable behavior by an elected official.
NOVEMBER 04, 2015 6:05 PM