Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach carried these papers into his meeting Sunday with President-elect Donald Trump in Bedminster, N.J. Carolyn Kaster The Associated Press
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach carried these papers into his meeting Sunday with President-elect Donald Trump in Bedminster, N.J. Carolyn Kaster The Associated Press

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Kris Kobach brings plan for homeland security into meeting with Donald Trump

By Hunter Woodall

hwoodall@kcstar.com

November 21, 2016 01:37 PM

UPDATED November 21, 2016 06:45 PM

Kris Kobach’s homeland security pitch to Donald Trump may have included plans to revive a tracking program and halt the intake of Syrian refugees.

A zoomed-in photo from The Associated Press shows that when the Kansas secretary of state met with the president-elect on Sunday, he brought a paper that read “Department of Homeland Security — Kobach strategic plan for first 365 days.”

Calls to Kobach’s spokeswoman about the plan were not immediately returned Monday.

Kobach, known nationally for his conservative views on immigration and voter identification, has been a vocal Trump supporter and has been rumored to be under consideration for a post in the president-elect’s administration.

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The top of the outline under the section “Bar the entry of potential terrorists” included plans to:

▪ “Update and reintroduce the NSEERS 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.”

That 9/11 era system was put on ice in 2011.

▪ “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.”

▪ “Reduce the intake of Syrian refugees to zero.”

The rest of the paper in the photo is mostly covered by Kobach’s hand. Other portions of the plan were more difficult to read, but included references to voter rolls and a border wall.

Micah Kubic, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, called the little information he’d seen come from the photograph “certainly concerning.” The ACLU has fought Kobach in court over the secretary of state’s proof of citizenship laws.

“If he were actually in a position to put forward these ideas, or if these ideas were to move forward in the new administration, we stand ready to fight back,” Kubic said.

Lena Arkawi, spokeswoman for the American Relief Coalition for Syria, said the group was upset at the proposal for Syrian refugees.

“It’s something that’s not going to make America great,” Arkawi said. “We pride ourselves as Americans for holding these certain types of values and so I think we’re going away from that and I think it is definitely a shame.”

Kobach did, however, get a vote of support from one of the most prominent Republicans in Kansas. Gov. Sam Brownback spoke highly of both Kobach and U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas, who was chosen by Trump to head up the CIA.

“Those two guys in particular, those are very talented guys,” Brownback said. “And they’ve also been people that have often thought very clearly through something. And some of it may be cutting edge to some people. ... these guys have thought this through and they’ve been outstanding.”

Kobach has been a high profile and controversial figure in Kansas politics since being elected secretary of state in 2010. His work for stricter voter ID and immigration laws have often been both criticized and applauded by some during his time in office. He has also been a strong supporter of Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border.

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Hunter Woodall The Kansas City Star

Hunter Woodall: 785-354-1388, @HunterMw