According to the paper, Kobach emailed ICE’s then-acting director Thomas Homan in 2017 to run the names of 289 people who had applied for an occupancy license in Fremont, NE, during his tenure as secretary of state of Kansas. Kobach’s request was documented in emails obtained through a FOIA request by American Oversight, a watchdog group.
In 2010, Kobach helped the city of Fremont draft an ordinance banning landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants. While the ordinance was challenged in 2014 and determined to be legal, it was technically unenforceable, because rental applications didn’t ask for information needed to determine citizenship status.
So in 2017, Kobach emailed Homan asking for help, reportedly sending a list of nearly 300 names of people who applied for city occupancy licenses from April 2014 to March 2017. From the Star:
Kobach wanted to determine if any of the people on this list were in the country illegally, and asked ICE to “verify the immigration status” of each individual.
He also went a step further, hinting that if the information he provided led to anyone being arrested or deported he’d be fine with that.
“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 the acting director of ICE, Thomas Homan. “So if your agents want to use that information for ICE enforcement operations, the ordinance contemplates that.”
“If you could assign someone to determine the immigration status of each alien and add that to the attached word file, that would be great,” Kobach wrote.
Even for Homan, who has spewed his share of anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric on Fox News, Kobach’s request didn’t seem to be well-received. From the Star again:
Homan appeared skeptical. In his response he cautioned against drawing any conclusions about an individual’s immigration status based on an occupancy license. Kobach’s email never resulted in any action by ICE.
Homan responded that Kobach needed to show that he is asking for this info as a legal representative of the Fremont police, or that Fremont can make the inquiry directly.
He also clarified that just because ICE doesn’t have records on an individual or cannot disclose information, the city shouldn’t take that to mean the person is in the country unlawfully.
Kobach told the Star the Fremont ordinance “has been very successful in reducing the harboring of illegal aliens in Fremont and in protecting U.S. citizens against illegal competition for their jobs,” a favorite line of anti-immigration hard-liners.
As the paper reported, ICE did not act on Kobach’s request, but he refuses to leave the national stage—even after his failed gubernatorial campaign, he’s now running for U.S. Senate in Kansas. Earlier this year, President Donald Trump also considered Kobach for his “immigration czar” position, fitting for someone with a background like his.