Secretary of state photographed holding written plan for the federal agency!
Kobach, an early Trump supporter, met with the president-elect on Sunday and has been mentioned as a potential pick for a position within the administration. Some speculation has centered on the secretary of Homeland Security, and Kobach’s plan appears to lend credence to that possibility.
An Associated Press photographer shot an image of Kobach going into the meeting and clutching a binder along with a stack of papers. One page is visible and readable, though partly obscured by Kobach’s hand.
The document is arranged in a numbered format. The first point reads, “Bar the Entry of Potential Terrorists.”
The document calls for updating and reintroducing the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. The program was implemented in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but largely suspended in 2011.
“All aliens from high-risk areas are tracked,” the document reads.
The document mirrors what Kobach told Reuters in the days after the election. In an interview with the news service, he said an immigration policy group might recommend reinstating the NSEERS system, which would act as a registry of immigrants.
Kobach was one of the original architects of the system, which was implemented under Attorney General John Ashcroft and President George W. Bush.
The document then calls for “extreme vetting questions” for “high-risk aliens,” echoing Trump’s campaign rhetoric. High-risk aliens would be questioned about support for Sharia law (Islamic religious law), jihad, the equality of men and women, and the U.S. Constitution.
The document also asks for reducing the intake of Syrian refugees to zero. In response, the American Relief Coalition for Syria, a coalition of 13 Syrian-American humanitarian organizations, said such a move would be “deeply immoral” on the part of the United States.
The document contains obscured references to the arrest and removal of illegal aliens, “386 miles of existing actual wall,” the post-Sept. 11 PATRIOT Act, and voter rolls. “Draft amendments to National Voter —” can also be seen, perhaps a reference to the National Voter Registration Act.
The rest of the page is either partially or totally obscured by Kobach’s hand and arm. When the photograph was taken, Kobach was standing outside with Trump — it is highly unlikely Kobach wasn’t aware he was being photographed.
A spokeswoman for Kobach didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Illegal immigration is a core passion for Kobach. A high-level position in the Trump administration would represent a culmination of his work on the subject and provide him a platform to enact the policies he for which he has advocated.
On Monday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations expressed alarm at Kobach’s plan and the document’s proposal for what the organization called “inquisition-style questions.” Yet spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said he wasn’t surprised.
“I think this is unfortunately in line with the actions we’ve seen from President-elect Trump’s transition team,” Hooper said.
Micah Kubic, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, said Kobach has a clear record of working to make voting more difficult, and life more difficult for immigrants. He said tools, such as the NSEERS, based on religious identity, very concerning.
“All of that we find reprehensible, unconstitutional, illegal and un-American,” Kubic said.
A Trump transition team statement on the Sunday meeting said Trump and Kobach met “to discuss border security, international terrorism, and reforming federal bureaucracy.”
Kobach has built a national reputation as a proponent of hard-line stances on immigration and election law. As Kansas secretary of state, he is embroiled in litigation – defending the state’s proof of citizenship voting law.
Kobach endorsed Trump before the Kansas GOP caucus. He also said he was advising Trump, including on the concept of building a wall and making Mexico pay for it — a core plank of Trump’s platform.
Here’s a video report, from The Hill:
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