KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Monday he has asked state officials to investigate an immigration reform rally that was held outside his Wyandotte County home.
Kobach and his family were not at his Piper home during the protest held Saturday by advocates of a federal overhaul of immigration laws that includes a path to citizenship for millions of people who are in the U.S. illegally. Kobach, a former law professor, has built a national profile by advocating policies that crack down on illegal immigration and for helping to write tough laws in Arizona and Alabama.
Kobach told The Associated Press on Monday he asked the Kansas attorney general's office and the Wyandotte County district attorney to investigate the rally at his home, and described the crowd of protesters as threatening. The crowd has been estimated between 200 to 300 people.
Kansas City, Kan., police spokesman Tom Tomasic said the department is investigating the protest to determine if any laws or city ordinances were violated.
Sunflower Community Action, a Kansas-based nonprofit group that advocates for immigration reform, organized the gathering and said in a release that the protest was intended "to remind him that Kansans believe in keeping families together."
The protest followed a rally the group held at a church in Kansas City, Kan., earlier Saturday. Phone messages left with SCA on Monday seeking comment about Kobach's call for a criminal investigation were not immediately returned.
Kobach said at the very least, the protesters trespassed on private property and made what he considers to be criminal threats. He said their actions could also be seen as a terroristic threat and that the protesters were trying to bully him into changing his position.
"They cross the line, going from civil discourse to mob intimidation," Kobach said. Kobach said he has no problems with protests at the Statehouse, at his office or at some other public space.
"I welcome debate, even aggressive debate," he said. "I do not accept the notion that a mob can swarm around a person's house."
His wife and young daughters likely would have been terrified by the protest, he said.
In an emailed news release Monday, Sunflower Community Action also pointed to an interview Kobach did Sunday with Fox News Radio interviewer Todd Starnes in which Kobach discussed the importance of the right to own weapons.
"It's important, though, that we recognize there's a reason we have the Second Amendment, and that is that there are situations like this where you have a mob and you do need to be able to protect yourself. ..." Kobach said in the interview. "If we had been in the home and not been armed, I would have felt very, very afraid because it did take the police 15 minutes to show up."
Kobach told the AP on Monday that the Fox News Radio host made a comment about the protest being an example of why the Second Amendment is important, and "I said, sure," if the police aren't on the scene to protect someone.
"I never brought the issue up," he said.
Also, he said his comments weren't a suggestion that he would have used a weapon in such a situation.
"I certainly wouldn't have," he said.
Sunflower Community Action noted the Fox News Radio interview in its statement, saying the group's "peaceful protests outside his home have now even led to violent physical threats. Enough."