Kris Kobach Wants ‘Processing Towns’ For Asylum-Seeking Families

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April 3, 2019 12:20 p.m.
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In what sounded a bit like an Alex Jones fever dream, former Kansas Secretary of State and potential Trump administration appointee Kris Kobach suggested Wednesday that the government create “processing town” detention centers for asylum-seekers along the southern border.

Instead of selling “the thousands of empty mobile home trailers that the United States owns right now,” Kobach told Fox Business Network’s Lou Dobbs in an interview, “deploy them to border cities and create processing towns that are confined.”

“And so when someone comes in and falsely claims asylum, we don’t release them for six months onto the streets of the United States, we process them right there in that camp, where they have the three square meals, they’re living in a nice mobile home,” Kobach said. “And then as soon as they’re done, as soon as the claim is rejected, they’re on the next plane back home.”

Kobach also urged the Department of Homeland Security to publish the final version of a proposed change to the so-called Flores settlement, spelling out, in Kobach’s words, “how we can detain entire families together.”

Currently, the Flores settlement says DHS can only detain migrant and asylum-seeking children for 20 days before transferring custody of them to the Department of Health or Human Services or another, less restrictive setting, such as a sponsor family member’s home. The proposed change would allow ICE, in the government’s words, to “use appropriate facilities to detain family units together during their immigration proceedings, consistent with applicable law.”

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended the proposed change on Sunday, saying that “it shouldn’t surprise anybody that we’re turning to what some folks might think [are] extreme measures.”

Kobach appears to be in the running to become President Donald Trump’s “immigration czar,” The Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing three unnamed people “familiar with the discussions.”

Kobach said Tuesday that he believed Trump would be receptive to his proposals.

“The President recognizes good ideas, he recognizes the crisis, and he recognizes the need to move quickly,” Kobach said. “So I imagine that he would probably be willing to move forward if presented with these ideas. I just don’t know why they haven’t been taken already.”

Watch below via Media Matters’ Andrew Lawrence, or see the full interview here.

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