Kobach Predicts Missouri Could Be Next Immigration Battleground
June 14, 2011

The National Journal is reporting Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach predicts Missouri could be one of the next battlegrounds in the immigration fight, as the landscape begins to change.

Here is the story:

The legislative war on undocumented immigrants is likely to move soon from deeply conservative South and Southwest to traditional swing states, said the attorney who helped write the restrictive Arizona and Alabama immigration laws.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is widely seen as the nation’s pre-eminent lawyer working on behalf of those seeking to crack down on illegal immigration, predicted that politically moderate states like Missouri and Pennsylvania legislatures will be the next battlegrounds.

“It’s likely that Missouri will raise its standard up to the Arizona or Alabama level,” Kobach told POLITICO. “And there’s a good shot that something might pass in Pennsylvania. It’s hard to predict too far out in the future, but those are probably the two best bets.”

Kobach’s comments come just days after Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley last week signed into law the nation’s toughest immigration bill, making the state the fourth to enact strict measures in the wake of Arizona’s landmark 2010 law.

Like Arizona, Alabama will require police officers to determine the citizenship and immigration status in any lawful “stop, detention or arrest” if there is a “reasonable suspicion” they are illegal. The new law also forbids undocumented immigrants from receiving state or local aid, bars them from public schools and universities, criminalizes hiring or renting to undocumented aliens and prohibits employers from firing an employee who is a legal resident if an illegal one is on the payroll. The law will take effect Sept. 1.

With most state legislatures having completed their annual sessions, it’s not likely new laws will turn up in the immediate future but it’s likely the battle will be renewed early next year when state lawmakers around the country get back to business.

Parts of Arizona Immigration Law Remain Blocked by Courts
April 11, 2011

From the WEashington Post:

“A federal appeals court ruled Monday that the most contested provisions of Arizona’s immigration law will remain blocked from taking effect, handing the Obama administration a victory in its efforts to overturn the legislation.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that put on hold key provisions of the Arizona law, which empowers police to question people whom they have a “reasonable suspicion” are illegal immigrants. The measure has triggered a fierce national debate.

In the 2-1 decision, the court found that U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton “did not abuse” her discretion in blocking parts of that law that would, among other things, require police to check immigration status if they stop someone while enforcing other laws.

The court ruled only on whether Bolton’s order should be upheld, not on whether the Arizona measure is legal, and the Justice Department’s move to have the entire law declared unconstitutional will proceed. But the judges gave strong indications that they accept the administration’s argument that the legislation is unconstitutional and would rule that way in the end.

“The Arizona statute before us has become a symbol,’’ Judge John T. Noonan wrote in a concurring opinion. “For those sympathetic to immigrants to the United States, it is a challenge and a chilling foretaste of what other states might attempt.’’

Judge Richard A. Paez, who wrote the majority opinion, used strong language as he appeared to endorse the administration’s position that Arizona’s law intrudes on federal immigration enforcement and is “preempted” by federal law.

“Arizona has attempted to hijack a discretionary role that Congress delegated to the Executive,’’ the decision said, adding that the Arizona law would “usurp” the U.S. attorney general’s role in directing any state enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Judge Carlos T. Bea dissented from parts of the decision.

The decision, the first appellate action on the much debated law that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed in April, is significant, experts said. But it is also one of the first steps in a legal struggle expected to play out over several years. Brewer has vowed to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court and could appeal Monday’s decision to the full 9th Circuit.”

Immigration Forces Turn Up the Heat on Kansas Lawmaker
March 25, 2011

Kansas St. Rep. Virgil Peck’s gaffe over immigration  still has legs.

Our pal at Prime Buzz  Steve Kraske has the latest:

50,000 names.

That’s how many signatures are said to be on petitions demanding that state Rep. Virgil Peck resign in the wake of his comments linking immigrants to feral pigs.

Several groups — including Sunflower Community Action, Presente.org, Kansas/Missouri DREAM Alliance — will gather with the signatures at 10 a.m. Friday on the steps of the Kansas Capitol.

“Rep. Peck’s words were dangerous,” explained Lalo Muñoz from the Latino Informational Network of Kansas.

“There is no place in our Kansas State Legislature for someone who uses offensive words to endanger and create fear in our communities.”

Last week, Rep. Peck made headlines when, during an appropriations committee meeting, he made a reference to an agricultural program that controls the state’s feral hog population by shooting them from helicopters. “Looks like to me, if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a (solution) to our illegal immigration problem,” Peck said.

Presente.org, a national online advocacy group that promotes the political empowerment of Latinos, coordinated a petition drive calling on Peck to resign from the Legislature and for the state and national GOP to hold him accountable for his hateful rhetoric.

“Across the nation, we witness the continue dehumanization of Latinos and immigrants; as the fastest growing community in the nation, this intolerable phenomenon has great consequences,” expressed Joaquin Guerra, National Campaign Director for Presente.org. “It’s critical for elected officials to actively protect everyone in our communities —not to make certain segments targets.”

Immigration Comments Continue to Stir
March 16, 2011

The Chair of the Kansas Democratic party is calling on a Republican lawmaker to resign after  comments he made about the imigration problem.

Last week, Rep. Virgil Peck (R-Tyro) was quoted as saying, ““It looks like to me if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a [solution] to our illegal immigration problem,”.

Some groups, who  have read the quote, have called for Rep. Peck to resign. He has apologized for the remark.

Today, Kansas Democratic Chairwoman Joan Wagnon ripped Peck again.

“Rep. Peck has become a source of embarrassment for all Kansans” Wagnon said Wednesday. “His comments are racist and inexcusable. They erode public confidence in our state’s highest legislative body.”

“I was in Southeast Kansas last evening speaking to a group of citizens and they totally rejected his statement that he was speaking the way people in that area speak. They told me, ‘Rep. Peck should be ashamed of himself!'”

“Rep. Peck’s so called apology, came only after his own party leaders demanded it. He still doesn’t understand why his comment offends so many people.