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Fear-Mongering; Attempts to Mislead Growing Old

Opinion Press - June 4, 2013 10:17 am

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A Kansas politician who’s built a career around an anti-immigrant crusade took time to visit one of the state’s more diverse communities.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach was in Garden City last week, and participated in a panel addressing immigration and diversity.

During the session at Garden City High School, the secretary of state who’s pushed anti-immigrant policies in Kansas and beyond rightly was schooled on reality surrounding the issue.

As usual, Kobach threw out questionable statistics surrounding immigrants’ drain on society, employers’ supposed failures to properly screen workers, meatpacking plant wages and more.

In trying to make his case, the lawyer relied on figures from a disputed Heritage Foundation study that criticized a plan in the U.S. Senate to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws.

The study from the conservative think tank cited high economic costs in the Senate plan for comprehensive immigration reform.

The problem is that one of two authors of the Heritage Foundation study recently resigned amid a racial scandal.

Senior policy analyst Jason Richwine stepped down in the wake of reports of his claim in a graduate school dissertation that Hispanic immigrants were less intelligent than white Americans.

Sadly, Kobach still would cite numbers from a study based on work from someone who embraced racist theories. It’s no wonder panelists in Garden City who know the reality in communities with significant immigrant populations easily poked holes in his case.

For example, Allie Devine, former Kansas Secretary of Agriculture who now leads the Kansas Business Coalition, an advocacy group of business organizations and the state’s Chamber, said Kobach’s statistics were wrong, and pointed to a recent and more objective study as evidence.

Kobach, however, apparently hasn’t been interested in the study from universities in Kansas and Missouri on the true economic impact of immigrants, and how southwest Kansas agribusiness in particular depends on immigrant labor.

The exchange was more proof of Kobach ignoring the truth in his tired quest to pander to the anti-immigrant crowd.

His fear-mongering and blatant attempts to mislead are indeed growing old, especially when reality matters most when it comes to reforming the nation’s immigration system.

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