Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign appears to be struggling with what exactly to do with Romney’s endorsement from Kris Kobach, the current Kansas Secretary of State and the controversial architect behind some of the recent past’s most incendiary immigration laws.
But four years ago, the campaign gave Kobach an important role: illegal immigration policy adviser.
Media reports from January, 2008 remind us Kobach — then the chair of the Kansas GOP and a past immigration policy adviser to John Ashcroft’s Justice Department — endorsed Romney, just as he did earlier this month. But Kobach’s role was bigger in the 2008 Romney campaign then than it is today: the man who would go on to help craft the immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama served as Romney’s policy adviser on immigration during his first run for the White House.
From a cached version the Jan. 28, 2008 release announcing Kobach’s endorsement we dug up:
Today, Kris Kobach, noted immigration policy expert and head of the Kansas Republican Party, announced his endorsement of Governor Mitt Romney. Kobach will serve as an adviser to Governor Romney on border security and immigration reform issues.
Kobach was already a controversial figure in the immigration movement when Romney singed him on as policy adviser in 2008. Even before the Romney endorsement, the Southern Poverty Law Center had designated the Federation for American Immigration Reform (whose legal arm Kobach served as general counsel) a hate group.
But Romney, then as now using his right-wing stance on immigration to woo wary conservatives, gave Kobach a warm embrace.
“For years, Kris Kobach has distinguished himself in his work to ensure that our immigration system respects the rule of law and ends illegal immigration while protecting the legal immigration that has made our country great,” Romney said in the 2008 statement. “He knows firsthand how important it is that we protect our country by securing our borders and rejecting amnesty proposals. I look forward to working with Kris as we tackle this critical challenge.”
Announcing Kobach’s endorsement on January 11, 2012, Romney still seemed ready to turn to the former University Of Missouri law professor for advice on how to handle illegal immigration.
“I’m so proud to earn Kris’s support,” Romney said in the recent release. “Kris has been a true leader on securing our borders and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into this country. We need more conservative leaders like Kris willing to stand up for the rule of law. With Kris on the team, I look forward to working with him to take forceful steps to curtail illegal immigration and to support states like South Carolina and Arizona that are stepping forward to address this problem.”