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Yesterday, the Kansas City Star reported that none other than Kris Kobach is taking credit for the addition of a “citizenship question” to the census:
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach encouraged President Donald Trump to add a question about citizenship status to the U.S. Census during the early weeks of Trump’s presidency.
More than a year later, Trump’s administration has moved to enact that exact policy for the 2020 census.
“I won’t go into exact detail, but I raised the issue with the president shortly after he was inaugurated,” Kobach said Tuesday.
No surprise, really. Treating immigrants as the invisible and dehumanized other is what nativists like Kris Kobach are all about. The problem for the GOP enablers of Kobach and his ilk is this: Kobach destroys nearly everything he touches.
Just recently, ACLU hauled Kobach into court to expose his voter suppression efforts. Check out his Mother Jones piece, entitled “Kris Kobach Just Got Humiliated in Federal Court” and sub-titled: The Kansas secretary of state wanted to prove his claims of widespread voter fraud. Instead, he was repeatedly embarrassed –“over and over, the claims of voter fraud offered by Kobach and his witnesses collapsed under scrutiny.”
According to a report published by the Center for American Progress in 2011, Kobach’s work to get conservative jurisdictions to enact anti-immigrant legislation in the past decade has been costly for the jurisdictions and profitable for Kobach. ThinkProgress reports:
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
If it involves suppressing the vote, dehumanizing immigrants and violating the Constitution, Kris Kobach can’t be far behind.
Kobach’s role in the controversy over adding the citizenship question to the census should come as no surprise. Adding the citizenship question advances three of his pet causes: sow fear among immigrant families; treat immigrants as if they are less than fully human; and put the thumb on the scale of democracy in order to undermine the political power of diverse communities. These aren’t bugs, but features. These are the intended consequences of adding the citizenship question to the census.
Fortunately for defenders of democracy and of immigrants, almost everything Kobach touches is an abject failure. As the ThinkProgress piece cited above makes clear, Kobach is a huckster who peddles his nativism for profit while those he dupes get stuck with the bill. His voter suppression drive is blowing up in his face in court as we speak. And the post-election voting commission appointed by Trump to concoct ‘evidence’ for his spurious claim that millions of undocumented immigrants voted in the 2016 election, was headed by Kris Kobach. No wonder it failed so spectacularly that had to be disbanded.
Given the intense backlash and serious legal challenges to the latest Kobach-influenced initiative, we expect this foray ends up being another abject failure. For the sake of our democracy, it must.