Dear Mr. VP,
Kris Kobach is Kansas’s Secretary of State, but also a person who goes around the country pushing virulently xenophobic and racist immigration policies, and of course champions Crosscheck, which pushes people of color off voter rolls.
Yesterday on Fox News, Kobach told Tucker Carlson we shouldn’t worry about collecting accurate data on undocumented people in the U.S. because “If you’re illegally in this country, we shouldn’t be considering you a resident, anyway, because you could go home at any day, you could be deported any moment. So, why in the world would we be worried about counting you?”
Let’s back up for a second. Why does the census exist? It isn’t just to count the number of people residing in the entire country, but to gauge numbers in each state and region. The census is essentially the basis for our representative democracy. It is supposed to ensure that each community gets the right number of representatives in government, and is taken into consideration when public funds are being distributed. The census doesn’t just consider folks eligible to vote as part of the population. You list your kid, even if they’re under eighteen. The information provided by the census can change how many representatives a state or area has, and that’s why it’s so important to get an accurate count of folks living in each area.
Unsurprisingly given Kobach’s history of opening his mouth only to have a steaming pile of shit fall out onto the table in front of him, what he’s said is racist, xenophobic, and dehumanizing. He can’t say “I don’t think people of color are people who matter at all,” so instead he’s trying to appeal to some sort of logic here. Except what he’s saying is actually completely illogical, on top of being (worth repeating) racist, xenophobic, and dehumanizing.
So Kobach’s argument is that we shouldn’t bother counting people if they aren’t here legally, because they could go back to their country of origin, either forcibly or by choice. If they won’t be in the same place, why should we count them as part of the population and use those numbers to redistrict and assign representation?
Well. I could move tomorrow too, but Kris Kobach still wants to count me. (I suppose this is a tenuous claim, because my last name ends in a ‘z’ and I’m sure if Kobach saw it on a voter roll his purge reflex would kick in.) But the point remains: any of us could move. In fact, 3.9% of the U.S. population moved across a county line in 2016 – that’s over twelve million people who moved across a political and geographic boundary and might “throw off” census numbers. There’s no exact comparison because ICE releases numbers based on fiscal year rather than calendar year, but in FY2016, ICE deported 240,255 people. Fifty-two times the number of people moved between counties than were deported.
Given this, if Kris Kobach is particularly worried about the exact integrity of census numbers, I’d suggest he take up a crusade to keep us all from moving, because that’s clearly a much more significant issue. I can see it now: Kobach touring the country, pushing measures that make it illegal to move. I’m sure that’ll go over really well with the Don’t Tread On Me crowd.
Except of course this won’t happen, because Kobach’s concern isn’t the integrity of census numbers and the preservation of representative democracy. Kobach is a white supremacist with one concern: keeping Republicans and other white supremacists in power by any means necessary.