Cameron Joseph, The Hill, August 21, 2012
The Republican Party has officially endorsed its backing for Arizona-style state immigration laws, adding into its platform language that such laws should be “encouraged, not attacked” and calling for the federal government to drop its lawsuits against the laws.
That language and other provisions were widely approved by the party after being introduced by the co-author of the Arizona law, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R).
“I was pleased at how overwhelming the majorities were, it was a voice vote and I think there were maybe 80 percent supporting it,” Kobach told The Hill shortly after the hard-line immigration language was added to the party’s official platform. “The Republican Platform is now very strongly opposed to illegal immigration.”
The official party position now reads that “State efforts to reduce illegal immigration must be encouraged, not attacked,” and says the Department of Justice should immediately drop its lawsuits against controversial state immigration laws in Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina and Utah.
“I think it’s an expression of support for Arizona-style laws,” Kobach said. “The platform also encourages states to create laws in this area.”
Kobach’s amendment, which is now official party policy, also includes calls to withhold federal funding for any universities that provide in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants as well as “sanctuary cities” that refuse to enforce state and federal laws on immigration, and calls for the government to complete construction of a fence along the Mexican border that Congress authorized in 2006.
Another amendment he backed that was included in the party platform strengthens the GOP’s previous support of a national “E-Verify” system.
The broader party’s inclusion of Kobach’s amendments reverses a subcommittee’s decision the day before to reject the language, and shows his power within the party.