Kobach received his B.A. degree with highest distinction from Harvard University in 1988. He graduated at the top of his class in the Harvard Government Department. In 1988, the British government awarded him a Marshall Scholarship, which took him to England for post-graduate study. In 1992 he received his Doctorate in Political Science from Oxford University. In 1995 he received his J.D. from Yale Law School. After working as a judicial clerk on the 10th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, he served as a law professor at the University of Missouri—Kansas City School of Law from 1996 to 2011. As a professor, he taught constitutional law, immigration law, legislation, and legal history.
Since 2001, Kris Kobach has been a leading figure in the battle to reduce illegal immigration. During 2001-03, as Counsel to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, he led Justice Department efforts to close loopholes in the immigration system that the 9/11 terrorists exploited. He later co-authored Arizona’s Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007, Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law of 2010, and Alabama’s HB 56 of 2011, as well as numerous other state and local laws that discourage illegal immigration. He has defended many of those laws in federal courts across the country. He also represented the 10 ICE agents who sued the Obama Administration to stop the illegal DACA executive amnesty in 2012.
Kobach served as the elected Secretary of State of Kansas from 2011-2019. A leader in the national effort to stop voter fraud, he drafted and pushed for the law that made Kansas the first state in the nation to combine photo ID requirements at the polls, equivalent ID requirements for mail-in ballots, and proof of citizenship at the time of registration.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Kobach served as an informal advisor in immigration and border security to then-candidate Donald Trump. After the 2016 election, he served on the Trump Transition team, helping to launch the Trump Administration’s immigration reforms. In 2017, President Trump tapped Kobach to lead the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, along with Vice President Mike Pence.
Kobach is a regular columnist for Breitbart.com and is seen frequently on FOX News Channel. He and his wife, Heather, have five daughters, Lilly, Reagan, Molly, Charlie, and Josie; and they reside on a farm near Lecompton, Kansas.