POLITICS

Immigration hardliner says he inspired Trump's plan to get Mexico to pay for border wall

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a constitutional attorney who is the chief architect of some of the toughest state immigration laws, including those of Alabama and Arizona, endorsed GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney on Wednesday. Kobach called Romney "a true conservative."

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a constitutional attorney who is the chief architect of some of the toughest state immigration laws, including those of Alabama and Arizona, endorsed GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney on Wednesday. Kobach called Romney "a true conservative."  (AP)

The man behind some of the last decade’s most controversial immigration laws and positions is taking credit for one of the most recent, Donald Trump’s plan to force Mexico pay for the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who was a force behind Arizona’s strict immigration law, SB 1070, and similar ones in other statees that followed, as well as former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's support for “self-deportation,” says that he has helped shape the current GOP front-runner's stance on immigration.

Trump has proposed cutting off money that Mexicans living in the U.S. send back to their homeland unless Mexico makes a one-time payment of $5 billion to $10 billion, which he said would help pay for the proposed wall.

Kobach said the remittance plan is consistent with discussions he has had with Trump’s campaign. The Trump campaign didn’t respond to a request to elaborate on Kobach’s involvement, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

“Mr. Trump was receptive to that idea, and I think he’s an excellent negotiator, and he looks for opportunities to put pressure on opposing parties in negotiations, and this fits the bill,” said Kobach, who was the only Kansas statewide elected official to endorse Trump before the state's GOP caucus in March. Sen. Ted Cruz won the state.

Last week, the Trump campaign published the plan for getting Mexico to pay for the wall on its website.

He said he would change a rule under the Patriot Act to cut off funds sent to Mexico by individuals through money transfers known as remittances. 

The plan also would bar non-Americans from wiring money outside of the U.S. unless they can provide documents showing they are living legally in the U.S. Those provisions would be dropped if Mexico agreed to the one-time payment.

The proposal is a more detailed version of one Kobach proposed in February when he endorsed Trump. On Friday, Kobach said he drafted portions of the plan the campaign posted on its website.

Trump’s proposal has been criticized on several fronts, including by President Barack Obama and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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