by Tony Dokoupil of Newsweek
Frustrated by the federal stalemate on illegal immigration, cities and states have spent the last few years crafting their own curbs on unlawful residency. The most publicized of these was in Arizona, which ordered police with “reasonable suspicion” to check people’s immigration status (and went further last week, introducing a bill that aims to deny citizenship to children born in the state whose parents are there without permission). Lawmakers have worked aggressively as well in Nebraska, Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Idaho, among other states, punishing schools that educate undocumented immigrants, landlords who rent to them, and businesses that hire them.
What unites these measures, however, is more than a hardline approach to border control. It’s their ties to one man: Kris Kobach, a Kansas-raised former law professor who has emerged as the intellectual architect of the right’s fight against illegal immigration. The 44-year-old has authored, aided, or officially defended almost every controversial stance in the country, beginning with his work as chief immigration adviser in John Ashcroft’s Justice Department.