Kris Kobach's Homeland Security Plan For Donald Trump Is Almost A Tiny Bit Comforting
Look at that picture above. The man on the right, shaking hands with President-elect Donald Trump, is Kris Kobach, the current Secretary of State for Kansas. Kobach is an immigration hardliner: He proposed a Muslim registry before Trump did, and he's backed Trump since early in the Republican primaries. Kobach is considered a possible pick for Homeland Security secretary in Trump's cabinet. And, as you can see from the photo, he's holding a piece of paper with plans he brought to a meeting with Trump, clear for anyone to see.
The Topeka Capital-Journal was able to zero in on that piece of paper and look at Kobach's plans for Homeland Security under the Trump administration. In just the portion not obscured by Kobach's hands, we can see a bit about the kind of plans a Trump administration might follow through on, specifically with regards to his most controversial proposals — banning Muslims, deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, and building a wall on the Mexican border.
The proposals in Kobach's hands show how Trump's most divisive campaign rhetoric could very well be on its way towards becoming a reality. From what can be deciphered from the document, on all three of these major issues, Trump would seemingly back off from the most extreme version from the campaign trail. Trump's desire to ban Muslims from the United States turns into a heavy form of vetting for "aliens from high-risk areas" along with tracking similar to what was implemented by the Bush administration and ended by Obama. He also would ban all refugees from entering the country, just as he promised on the campaign trail.
Kobach's paper refers to a deportation system akin to what Trump promised during the election. But unlike Trump's initial proposal of a "deportation force" to remove all illegal immigrants, Kobach's paper suggests merely deporting those who have been arrested for crimes in Trump's first year. This seems to be akin to what Trump has said since winning the election — though rather than going with Trump's inexplicable number of 2-3 million, Kobach's plan appears to be grounded in the reality that there aren't that many illegal immigrants with criminal records. Kobach's paper suggests 193,000 immigrants would be taken up immediately, as noted by Mashable's report on the document, which is a lot of people, but actually far fewer than Obama deported in some years.
Kobach's paper also mentions the wall, implying that that proposal is still being considered. But as funding for the wall would need to come from Congress, it is still unclear if it would be at all possible for Trump to get that started. Kobach's proposal mentions the existence of fences in many places, and puts forward plans for dealing with future lawsuits.
Perhaps most potentially worrying — but also most vague — is the mostly obscured text at the bottom of the paper that refers to trying to affect voting rights. Kobach has been fierce on voting restrictions in Kansas, and for many who worry about voter suppression, him getting involved at the federal level is concerning.
As we get used to Trump being elected president, we are also starting to have to get used to the outlandish things he said on the campaign trail being turned into the reality of governing. Kobach's paper shows how the two are similar, but just as importantly, how they're different.