In Trump’s ever-evolving list of terrible cabinet candidates, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is perhaps the very worst. Having already helped draft a racist anti-immigration plan that allowed law enforcement to discriminate against Hispanics based on the color of their skin in the state of Arizona, Kobach’s legacy of civil rights abuses is impressive. He’s also the guy who designed the previous Muslim registry imposed by George W. Bush in the wake of 9/11. Now he wants to take his big ideas and implement them in Trump’s administration.
While interviewing for a job in the Trump administration (rumored to be Secretary of Homeland Security), Kobach posed for photos outside the compound with Donald Trump. But Kobach, not known for being particularly bright, carried his notes outside of his portfolio. Photographers for several major outlets including Getty and AP captured his bullet points in high-definition.
Enhanced, and it’s easy to make out many of the details of what he calls the “Department of Homeland Security Kobach Strategic Plan For First 365 Days.” These are the things Kobach will promise to do during Trump’s first year in office.
Right off the bat, Kobach starts his list by detailing the way he will institute the Muslim registry. First, he wants to restart the highly ineffective and civil rights-violating Bush screening and tracking policy known as “NSEERS.” The program forced Muslim immigrants to register and then routinely check in with immigration officials while they were in the US or face jail or deportation. It was also a disaster. Obama scrapped the whole thing in his first term.
As CNN explained:
It didn’t result in a single terrorism conviction.
The American Civil Liberties Union told CNN this week that NSEERS “actually made genuine efforts at trying to combat terrorism more difficult by destroying relationships with immigrant communities and actually negatively impacting the ability of the federal government to cooperate with foreign governments in fighting terrorism.”
That’s Kobach’s step one.
He also wants to go after Syrian refugees, saying his plan is “reduce intake of Syrian refugees to zero” leaving thousands of victims of the civil war abandoned.
Obscured by his arm, parts two, three and four seem to do with the immigrants he derisively calls “criminal aliens.” Trump’s ludicrous “wall” makes an appearance as does the PATRIOT Act.
At the very, very bottom, we have another item that should send chills down the spines of Americans. Part five is about amending the National Voting Rights Act using the power of the Justice Department and the Republican majority in Congress.
Below the sleeve, even worse. A planned attack on voting rights: pic.twitter.com/MyGPi9ngqO
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) November 21, 2016
Already, we’ve seen Republicans salivate at the idea of preventing “Democratic-leaning” voters from being able to cast their ballot. In the 2016 election, many states saw massive numbers of registered voters turned away or purged from the voter rolls in areas that almost universally disproportionately affected minority voters (who weren’t likely to vote Trump). In North Carolina, a contentious battleground state, North Carolina Republicans went so far as to brag about suppressing the black vote.
It’s odd that the guy applying to be Secretary of Homeland Security would an entire section of his pitch to voting rights… It’s not a domain the DHS has traditionally been involved in. It suggests that under Trump, Democratic suppression and “homeland security” will be intertwined. A terrifying notion from an administration that has already shown every sign of leaning towards fascist solutions to the “problems” of free press and democratic expressions like protests and voting.
Kobach’s blunder may have tipped President-elect Trump’s hand about where he is going with his administration – and it’s not good.
Featured image via Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images