A Trump Hopeful’s Homeland Security Plan Includes a Muslim Registry and Changes to Voting Laws

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach met with president-elect Donald J. Trump on Nov. 20 to discuss “border security, international terrorism, and reforming federal bureaucracy,” according to the president-elect’s transition team.

Kobach, who said he has advised the Trump campaign for months on immigration policy, seemed pretty lax on security himself—when he posed with Trump for a photo outside the president-elect’s namesake golf club in New Jersey, the front page of his “Department of Homeland Security: Kobach Strategic Plan for the First 365 Days” was on full display, held outside the folder he was carrying:

The photograph, captured by the Associated Press, offers more details about Kobach’s controversial proposal for a registry for Muslims entering the US, and other drastic suggestions for US border security and immigration. Kobach was once rumored to be a potential candidate for the director of the DHS, which deals with such issues. The Trump team said last week he is not an official advisor.

It is unclear whether the plan was accidentally displayed or not, but it makes clear that targeting Muslims is at the top of Kobach’s list. Here’s what the plan says.

1. Bar the entry of potential terrorists:

  1. Update and reintroduce the NSFERS screening and tracking system (National Security Entry-Exit Registration System) that was in place from 2002-2005. All aliens from high-risk areas are tracked.
  2. Add extreme vetting questions for high-risk aliens: question them regarding, support for Sharia law, jihad, equality of men and women, the United States Constitution.
  3. Reduce intake of Syrian refugees to zero, using authority under the 1980 Refugee Act.

NSFERS, a post-9/11 registration process for Arab and Muslim men, was suspended in 2011 because it amounted to racial profiling (paywall). Before the controversial tracking program ended, a mere 11 men from the 85,000 profiled were found to foster terrorism links.

Kobach is one of the men who drafted the original NSFERS program during his time with the Justice Department under the George W. Bush administration. Robert McCaw, director of government affairs for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told Politico that Kobach has “a long ax to grind with the Muslim community.”

In addition to targeting Muslims, Kobach’s plan appears to propose analyzing “193,000 criminal removal cases dropped by the Obama Administration.” The figure appears to come from a Center for Immigration Studies report from 2014 that was widely covered by conservative media outlets, but dismissed as misleading by the American Immigration Council.

It also mentions “1,989 miles planned for rapid build,” in addition to “386 miles of existing actual wall,” presumably referring to the construction of Trump’s much hyped US-Mexico border wall, and talks about plans to “forestall future lawsuits.”

And further down on the front page of the plan, below Kobach’s hand, there’s a reference to “voter rolls,” and “Draft Amendments to National Voter…” The latter is presumably the National Voter Registration Act, introduced in 1993 to make voting easier for Americans. As Kansas secretary of state, Kobach has politicized voting registration (paywall) by trying to toughen identification requirements, a move that was struck down in court in August and is widely believed to limit turnout among Democrats.

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