You have to read this entire joint report by the Kansas City Star and ProPublica to fully understand the story. I will attempt to summarize the report in less than 50 words: Kansas Secretary of State and Donald Trump crony Kris Kobach convinced multiple U.S. municipalities to adopt anti-immigrant policies, none of the ordinances are currently being enforced, and the municipalities were forced to pay millions of dollars combined in legal fees.
One of the four municipalities that were targeted by Kobach was the city of Valley Park, Missouri. Kobach aided local officials in Valley Park, a suburban community near St. Louis, in passing an anti-immigrant measure, and the anti-immigrant measure gave Valley Park nothing but legal trouble:
Kris Kobach likes to tout his work for Valley Park, Mo. He has boasted on cable TV about crafting and defending the town’s hardline anti-immigration ordinance. He discussed his “victory” there at length on his old radio show. He still lists it on his resume.
But “victory” isn’t the word most Valley Park residents would use to describe the results of Kobach’s work. With his help, the town of 7,000 passed an ordinance in 2006 that punished employers for hiring illegal immigrants and landlords for renting to them.
After two years of litigation and nearly $300,000 in expenses, the ordinance was largely gutted. Now, it is illegal only to “knowingly” hire illegal immigrants there — something that was already illegal under federal law. The town’s attorney can’t recall a single case brought under the ordinance.
At least three other municipalities also faced legal trouble thanks to Kobach’s swindling them into passing anti-immigrant ordinances that are no longer being enforced, and those municipalities owed lots of money as well:
Farmers Branch, Texas, wound up owing $7 million to Kobach and a team of lawyers. Hazleton, Pa., took on debt to pay $1.4 million and eventually had to file for a state bailout. Fremont, Neb., raised property taxes to pay for Kobach’s services. None of the towns is currently enforcing an ordinance he helped craft.
What the people in charge of the municipal governments that got effectively swindled by Kobach didn’t realize is that there is a concept called the U.S. Constitution, there’s also a concept called federal law, there’s also a concept called legal rights, and there’s also a concept called people suing for their rights.
Not only did Kobach push municipalities to adopt anti-immigrant policies they couldn’t actually implement, he’s personally profited from doing so:
Kobach rode the attention the cases generated to political prominence, first as Kansas secretary of state and now as a candidate for governor in the Aug. 7 Republican primary. He also earned more than $800,000 for his immigration work, paid by both towns and an advocacy group, over 13 years.
Kris Kobach, who is currently seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for Governor of Kansas, has spent many years pushing far-right, anti-immigrant policies in order to line his own pockets at the expense of communities.