Kris Kobach, the extremely controversial Kansas secretary of state, has been asked to join President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team. He is a policy adviser on immigration, and architect of some of the nation’s most draconian anti-immigrant and voter suppression laws
He will advise Trump on policy issues leading up to his swearing-in in 8 days, preparing him to begin his first 100 days in office. It’s an unpaid position for Kobach.
180 DEGREE TURN
Kobach called the transition from Obama’s presidency to Trump’s “one of the sharpest transitions we’ve seen,” a 180-degree turn for the country.
This should terrify you – why? Donald Trump has just named one of the most racist politicians in all of America to his transition team. Kris Kobach was the architect of the most racist law in modern American history. SB 1070 passed in Arizona in 2010. What did it mean? If you have brown skin or an accent, police had a right to stop you, detain you and demand you prove your citizenship.
Arizona’s S.B. 1070 requires police to ask for papers from anyone they have a reasonable suspicion of being without status. Under this law any person of color, or anyone with a foreign accent, can be asked to prove their status or be jailed—regardless of whether they are a citizen or an immigrant—until they can do so. The Supreme Court indicated that lengthy detention would be impermissible, but people’s rights will likely be violated before that limitation can be enforced.
TARGETS DARK PEOPLE
By targeting certain groups of people living within the state, the Arizona law extents to an ethnically argumentative and deeply hostile social policy. It raises the specter of states treating people contrariwise based only on appearance rather than actions. Every person in Arizona and states that pass S.B. 1070-like legislation will be essential to carry proof of their legal status at all times or face the option of being incarcerated. In practice it will be people of color that bear the most of these policies.
“PAPER PLEASE” LAW
It was nicknamed the “Papers Please” law and thanks to Kris Kobach and the right-wing ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), two dozen copycat bills quickly spread to other conservative states. Image this – you are walking down the street and police have the power to stop you and your children and throw you in jail on only the suspicion that maybe you don’t belong? And this is because you have brown skin or an accent? Terrifying, right?
What if you were told that this same man, Kris Kobach, spoke to a group of White Nationalists just last year?
DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM
I know, I know – white Americans are probably saying that you don’t have a problem with this. But what if you are a white American but your skin is darker because you work at a job that is outdoors? You are a ‘white American’ so you don’t carry anything but your driver’s license. No other papers – so you end up in jail? How would you think about this law then?