CPAC’s panel on “real immigration reform” was moderated by Mark Krikorian of the nativist Center for Immigration Studies, which is connected to a network of anti-immigrant and white supremacist groups and individuals. Krikorian grumbled jokingly about his panel, which was not presented in the main ballroom, being at the “kid’s table.”
CPAC: How to Make Illegal Immigrants Go Home
But the star of the panel was Kris Kobach, a right-wing activist who is now the Kansas Secretary of State, and who Krikorian suggested may be in a future CPAC presidential straw poll. Kobach, who helped draft Arizona’s HB 1070 law, offered his help to activists in other states to get similar laws passed.
Kobach promoted “attrition through enforcement” – basically denying illegal immigrants any opportunities to improve their lives so that they will just choose to go home – a strategy he said is working quite well in Arizona. He slammed the Obama administration for suing Arizona rather than welcoming the state’s help enforcing immigration laws.
Kobach offered a seven-point plan to implement his “attrition through enforcement” strategy and called for the political will to make it work nationally. In addition to building the border wall, adopting zero-tolerance policies for illegal immigrants and stepping up workplace raids, his plan includes cutting off federal law enforcement funds for “sanctuary cities” like San Francisco and denying federal education funds to any state that allows illegal immigrant students to pay in-state tuition to state colleges. He said Kansas is about to join Arizona and Georgia in requiring people to provide proof of citizenship to register to vote.
Kobach pushed for states to challenge birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment and push Congress to adopt the “original understanding” of the 14th Amendment. (This right-wing talking point on the 14th Amendment is demonstrably, historically false.) He claimed to know about a Mexican woman who had previously given birth to triplets in the U.S. who was, while about to give birth to twins, lowered by ropes over the fence and into the U.S. in order to have her children become citizens. (The claim that there’s an “anchor baby” movement is another bogus claim by anti-immigrant activists.)
Other panelists included Dino Teppara of the Indian American Conservative Council who called the DREAM Act a “nightmare” and denounced the use of “politically correct” language on immigration. He called for Congress to find ways to clear the backlog of those trying to enter the country legally.
Another panelist, Jayne Cannava, from the group Pro-English, denounced a “mindless pursuit of diversity” and called for state laws making English the official language. She said drivers’ license exams in every state should be offered only in English, and she praised other state legislative proposals like one that would require English proficiency as a condition of receiving any public assistance.