So this actually happened last week . . . A prominent supporter of Donald J. Trump, Carl Higbie, a former spokesman for Great America PAC and a member of the Trump transition team, in an appearance on “The Kelly File” on FAUX News cited World War II-era Japanese-American internment camps as a “precedent” for an immigrant (read Muslim) registry for immigrants from countries where terrorist groups were active. Trump Camp’s Talk of Registry and Japanese Internment Raises Muslims’ Fears:
“We’ve done it based on race, we’ve done it based on religion, we’ve done it based on region,” Mr. Higbie said. “We’ve done it with Iran back — back a while ago. We did it during World War II with Japanese.”
“You’re not proposing that we go back to the days of internment camps, I hope,” said Megyn Kelly, the show’s host.
Mr. Higbie, a former Navy SEAL who served two tours in Iraq, denied that, but said, “We need to protect America first.”
“There is historical, factual precedent to do things that are not politically popular and sometimes not right, in the interest of national security,” he said, adding that he “fundamentally” disagreed with “the internment camp mantra and doing it at all.”
He clarified that he was not a constitutional lawyer and was working from a layman’s understanding of the 1944 Supreme Court ruling that the order for internment camps was constitutional. He said he hoped to be involved in the Trump administration but had engaged in no “formal conversations” with the president-elect’s team.
Noah Feldman, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, explains to Carl Higbie and Trump supporters why the infamous case of Korematsu v. United States (1944), is not the precedent Higbie suggests. Why Korematsu Is Not a Precedent.
Nevertheless, Trump’s transition immigration adviser, the notorious anti-immigrant and GOP voter suppression specialist Kris Kobach was spotted with a copy of his Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposals Sunday that has reinstatement of his post-9/11 NSEERS registry for immigrants at the top of the list. Photo of Trump-Kobach meeting reveals apparent DHS proposal:
A photo-op Sunday with Donald Trump may have revealed prospective Cabinet member Kris Kobach’s plans for the Department of Homeland Security.
Kobach’s name has been floated as a potential pick for head of the Department of Homeland Security.
[I]n the photo released by AP, Kobach is holding a document that is facing the camera, which appears to lay out in boldfaced type guidelines for the role the two men were seemingly discussing.
The document is titled “Department of Homeland Security” and underneath reads “Kobach Strategic Plan for First 365 Days.”
DHS, whose secretary requires Senate confirmation, is in charge of immigration policy and border security — two key issues Trump promised to amend in his platform throughout his candidacy.
The paperwork lays out key tasks the DHS secretary would take on, including reintroducing the National Security Entry-Exit Registration screening program where “all aliens from high-risk areas are tracked” as well as reducing the intake of Syrian refugees to zero.
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Trump and his team, including incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus, have said that they will not target religion, yet this document proves differently, stating that there will be “extreme vetting questions for high-risk aliens — regarding Sharia law, Jihad, equality of men and women, United States Constitution.”
Kobach, an early Trump supporter, was one of the original creators of NSEERS under President George W. Bush. Trump Immigration Adviser Kris Kobach Wrote the Book on Muslim Registry:
Kobach believes Trump can take action immediately with the swipe of a pen. In an interview with Reuters this week, Kobach said Trump’s immigrant transition team proposed drafting executive actions to reinstate a post-9/11 era program that registered immigrants and visitors from countries designated as havens for extremist activity.
Kobach would know — he helped write the blueprint for it while working for the Justice Department under President George W. Bush.
“These programs had Kobach’s signature all over them,” said Muzaffar Chishti, director of the non-partisan think tank the Migration Policy Institute. “Now, the architect of the old program again has a seat at the table.”
Kobach is renowned as the mastermind behind the Republican Party’s heavily contested anti-immigrant bills and restrictions on voter registration.
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Kobach [has] his fingerprints all over Trump’s policy white papers. He even found a potential way to pull off even Trump’s most far-fetched of campaign promises — like forcing the Mexican government to write a blank check to build a massive wall along the U.S. border.
Using a technicality tucked within the Patriot Act, Kobach plotted a way to force Mexico’s hand by holding hostage the millions of dollars that Mexican nationals in the U.S. send home to family each year.
Kobach is now on a tour touting himself as the brains behind the border wall payment plan. And with Trump assembling the final pieces of his cabinet, Kobach has indicated he may have another trick up his sleeve.
The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERS, targeted people from 25 countries that were considered “higher risk” of extremist activity. The program focused only on young men over the age of 16, who underwent intense interrogations. An earlier iteration asked for Muslims to come forward and identify themselves, provide fingerprints and personal information.
Chishti says the registry was broad by design. Rather than discriminate people by religion, the program instead focused on all people from Muslim-majority countries.
“There is no way of establishing a registry of Muslims because there is no way of establishing who is a Muslim and who is not,” he said.
President Obama shut down the operations in 2011, but the policy infrastructure technically remains on the books. Trump could simply revitalize the program by designating which countries were deserving of the “extreme vetting” of all individuals, Muslim or not.
The DHS Inspector General later issued a report finding that the program was costly and unreliable. More than 80,000 men participated in the registry. Thousands of those were interrogated and even detained. None were ever prosecuted on terrorism charges. Instead the program created a pipeline for deportation.
Kobach’s new proximity to the power structures in a future Trump administration has top Democrats sounding alarms that he is unfit to serve.
Rep. John Conyers issued a statement on Wednesday railing against two Trump advisers — Kobach and Frank Gaffney, founder of the hard-right Center for Security Policy — for being “right wing extremists.”
Conyers took particular aim at Kobach’s tenure at the Justice Department and his blueprint for a Muslim registry, calling it “a proposal that flies in the face of the constitution and is a threat to the civil liberties of all Americans.”
All it would take is one terrorist attack on U.S. soil as a justification for Kris Kobach and the xenophobic nativist religious bigots to call for Muslim internment camps as the next step. Team Trump is signaling where it is willing to go. Pay attention, America.
UPDATE: The Washington Post editorializes, “Targeting people based on religion or ethnicity would defy the nation’s foundational ideals.” An un-American registry. The New York Times editorializes, “Donald Trump’s campaign vow to register Muslims is a frightening echo of the shameful treatment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II.” 1942 All Over Again?