Kris Kobach’s ICE Lawsuit Shows The Right Is Going All In For Questioning Obama’s Legitimacy As President

by evanmcmurry

ICE agents sue their own agency over Obama’s policies! Law enforcement agents claim they’re being ordered to break the law! This must be that popular uprising that judge in Texas warned us about!

Until you get, oh, EIGHT paragraphs into the article and read this:

The suit is funded by NumbersUSA, a group that proposes lower levels of legal and illegal immigration, and the attorney is Kris Kobach, the secretary of State of Kansas who has helped Arizona and Alabama craft strict anti-illegal-immigration laws. His work on this lawsuit is not part of his official state duties.

It sure isn’t. Kobach, you’ll recall, was a Romney advisor who designed the charming “self-deportation” immigration policy that Romney used to get himself through the Republican primary, until he suddenly needed to court Latino voters and dropped Kobach like Massachusetts health reform. Adam Serwer points out that Kobach is getting his revenge right now. The GOP platform is closer to Kobach’s extremism than Romney’s vague, half-hearted attempt at centrism. This is the problem when you don’t propose specific policy, as Romney has steadfastly refused to do on the subject of immigration: nature abhors a vacuum, and someone with more detailed ideas than you will happily fill the void you’ve left.

Anyway, new rule: any story that’s the direct result of machinations from a PAC (PACinations!) needs to say so in the first paragraph. There’s absolutely nothing organic about this lawsuit, though that’s how it’s presented; an anti-immigration advocate merely found some ICE agents who don’t like taking orders from the Sultan of Otherstan. No plausible law-and-order objection is possible here: Obama has vastly increased the number of deportations from the Bush administration, and strengthened border security. As of right now, immigrants who are arrested enter a bureaucratic purgatory for months before they are deported, so I don’t see how Obama’s policies are putting ICE agents in “a horrible position,” as the lawsuit claims, by streamlining the process of deportation for violent criminals while letting others go. Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies in southwestern states routinely object to legislation like Kobach’s, which overburden them by putting local officials in charge of federal law at the expense of fighting crime and building trust with Latino communities. None of this is consonant with suing Janet Napolitano over Obama’s policies.

But when combined with the PAC that’s running ads whining that Obama didn’t kill bin Laden, this lawsuit begins to form a pattern of concerted efforts by conservative groups to present military and law enforcement officials as questioning the legitimacy of Obama’s authority as president. The shorthand for this is swift-boating, but it has more in common with the soldier from a couple of years ago who refused to report for duty because of his suspicions over Obama’s citizenship. This is birtherism, dressed in a uniform and given a badge and a rank. It’s gross.

UPDATE (10:45): Given Romney’s birther joke today, I’d say everyone’s in on the effort.