Department of Homeland Security

Kobach sent residents’ names to ICE during gubernatorial run: report

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach sent the names of Nebraska residents to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during his run for governor.

Kobach exchanged emails with then-acting Director of ICE Thomas Homan in December 2017 in which he released the names of applicants for an occupancy license in Fremont, Neb., for the agency to investigate, The Kansas City Star reported.

The gubernatorial candidate asked ICE officials to “verify the immigration status” of each person on the list, The Kansas City Star reported. 

“The Fremont ordinance permits the city to share any information on the alien’s application with ICE for ICE’s own purposes,” Kobach wrote to Homan. “So if your agents want to use that information for ICE enforcement operations, the ordinance contemplates that.”

Kobach became involved with the eastern Nebraska city when its officials requested his help to author an ordinance supported by voters that mandated landlords receive an occupancy license from potential renters, according to The Kansas City Star.

The form would include a question on whether the applicant was a U.S. citizen. If landlords allowed those who entered the country illegally to live at their properties, they could be prosecuted under the ordinance, The Kansas City Star reported.

Kobach defended the ordinance in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of it, but the application did not include questions that determined U.S. citizenship, The Kansas City Star reported. 

But Kobach sent a list of 289 names of occupancy license applicants in the 15 percent Hispanic town anyway at the time of his gubernatorial run and while receiving $10,000-a-year payments from Fremont, according to The Kansas City Star. The emails were obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request by American Oversight.

Kobach is preparing a run for the Senate after losing the gubernatorial election in 2018.

The Hill reached out to Kobach’s office for comment.

Last year, The Kansas City Star and ProPublica determined Kobach had been paid more than $800,000 for assisting towns and advocacy groups with immigration work.  

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