You remember Kris Kobach, right? Once a Congressional candidate with ties to white supremacists, before that a Justice Department staffer on a since-abandoned racial profiling scheme, after which he bankrupted the Kansas Republican Party, and is lately famous for authoring Arizona’s “show me your papers” law. He’s running for Kansas secretary of state, where he’d regulate state elections. At a recent event organized by the “Patriot movement” (which previously spawned domestic terrorists Timothy McVeigh, and Scott Roeder), Kobach made some rather remarkable claims, not least that:
terrorists are streaming over the United States-Mexico border, armed Mexican cartels have taken over some territory on the U.S. side, and that some Democrats support illegal immigration because they see potential voters. …
“This is a really big security threat,” said Kobach, who is a former Kansas Republican Party chairman and candidate for the GOP nomination for secretary of state. …
Kobach said the issue of stopping illegal immigrants at the border is a matter of national security. In 2005, the Border Patrol captured 3,722 people crossing from Mexico into the United States who were from countries that are considered state sponsors of terrorism, Kobach said. He said that probably represents one-fourth of the total from those countries who entered the United States illegally.
What evidence is there that Cuba, Iran, Sudan, or Syria are sending terrorists to the US via Mexico? Indeed, what evidence is there that any terrorists have entered the country without a visa? None. Lots of immigrants from Cuba enter via Mexico, but those are mostly legal. Immigrants from Cuba or any of the other countries have good reason to flee to the freedom of the United States, and terrorism is hardly the first explanation I’d look for to explain someone wanting to leave Syria, Cuba, Iran, or Sudan. The press report on the event does not indicate any evidence of terrorists crossing the Mexican border.
But this was hardly the biggest slander of the evening. According to the Lawrence Journal-World:
He said some Democrats oppose securing the border because they have calculated that at some point amnesty will be approved, allowing illegal immigrants to become citizens, and then those people will vote for Democrats.
“They want as many voters as possible,” he said.
There’s a simpler explanation. Democrats may just know that anti-immigrant efforts don’t just offend immigrants, but also citizens who immigrated to this country, or whose families did so. Pissing off voters is not good politics, and undermining basic civil liberties is bad policy. One needn’t concoct elaborate conspiracies to explain why Democrats might favor a less punitive approach than Kobach might prefer.
Kobach’s efforts have not just been against illegal immigration, but against immigrants more broadly. Kobach worked to increase scrutiny of documented immigrants from the Middle East, racially profiling travelers to our country. He created a law in Arizona that encourages racial profiling and creates a police state for certain ethnic minorities. These are not simply efforts at “securing the border,” they are attacks on ethnic groups that Kobach doesn’t like.
If Kobach knew what he was talking about, he’d know that Democrats have supported policies that would cut back on illegal border crossings as part of comprehensive reforms that also address the people currently in the country without proper documentation. The suggestion that Democrats don’t want to secure the border is nonsense, as is his explanation for why people disagree with his batshit policies.