Kris Kobach: We Don't Need to Convict or Try People in Order to Punish Them


FOX News

Kansas Secretary of State Chris Kobach is a lightning rod in the immigration debate. He's a lawyer with the hyper-restrictionist Federation for American Immigration Reform, the brains behind Arizona's SB1070, and the guy who convinced Mitt Romney to embrace the concept of "self-deportation."

But it turns out Kobach's bad ideas aren't limited to immigration policy. While discussing the case of Jesus Cabera Molina, an undocumented immigrant who allegedly killed Phoenix Police Officer Daryl Raetz in an intoxicated hit-and-run, Kobach told Fox's Megyn Kelly that the U.S. shouldn't wait until people are convicted to punish and/or deport them:

Megyn Kelly: Sir, it's good to see you again on the program. Welcome back. Let's start with this case in Phoenix. Daryl Raetz's alleged killer. Now, he admits being drunk and having done cocaine on the night of the crash. He denied that he was driving, but his car was definitely the one that was used, police say. They believe he did it.

Why does he get to stay? He's already been arrested for burglary and DUI. He's an illegal immigrant. What is it about his situation that allowed them to exercise discretion to leave him here?

Kobach: My guess is in that situation, I mean we haven't seen the internal communications in ICE, but my guess is because he'd been arrested and not convicted.

This administration has been drawing a fairly strange line and saying, "We don't regard you as a criminal, as a threat to public safety, until you've been convicted in a court of law." Merely being arrested for drunk driving or arrested for assaulting a federal officer isn't enough. And I think that's a really problematic line. They've drawn that line not only the way they've exercised discretion as you described, but in their executive amnesty they did a year ago…..

As we all know, just because a person hasn't had that final conviction, that person is still very much a danger to the community and probably did commit the crime in some cases where the evidence is irrefutable.

Kelly: Well, but that can't be the standard in criminal cases. You need beyond a reasonable doubt.

For a guy with degrees from Harvard, Oxford, and Yale, Kobach's appreciation of due process is pretty disappointing. It's already incredibly easy to deport non-citizens–regardless of how long they've been in the U.S.–for misdemeanor convictions. Providing a stripped-down form of due process is hardly malfeasance. Not to mention there's no apparent reason why jumping from arrest to punishment in "cases where the evidence is irrefutable" should be applied only to illegal immigrants.