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Krebs, Tapio Back Trump Muslim Registry; Johnson Settles for Travel Ban

When I first read Sen. Neal Tapio’s challenge to Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, I thought I could be reading an expression of outrage from a candidate standing up to fascism:

Former South Dakota Trump Campaign Director Neal Tapio, calls on South Dakota Secretary of State, Shantel Krebs to clarify her own stance on Muslim immigration and refugee resettlement, and to reveal whether she agrees or disagrees with the policies of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, more specifically, dealing with Kobach’s concept commonly known as a “National Muslim Registry” [Neal Tapio, press release, via Dakota War College, 2017.12.13].

But this is Neal Tapio, South Dakota’s self-professed biggest Trump supporter in history, actually trying to horn in on Krebs’s anti-immigrant Trump-spirations and prove that he deserves Kobach’s anti-immigrant endorsement more than Krebs.

In a sane world, Tapio’s challenge would be bait. In Trumpworld, Krebs takes that bait:

In a phone call Wednesday evening, Krebs said she supported Kobach’s proposal to set up a registry for people from areas where terror threats are detected.

“It’s not based on religion, it’s based on migrants that are believed to pose a threat,” Krebs said.

She said she had been clear about her stances on immigration and continued to support Trump’s efforts to build a border wall and temporarily institute a travel ban for eight countries [Dana Ferguson, “Tapio Calls on Krebs to Weigh in on Federal Muslim Registry,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.12.13].

Good grief. Krebs here sounds like a woman I met while campaigning door-to-door in 2016. The woman asked me what I thought of banning Muslims from the U.S. I said that such a ban would violate the First Amendment. “Oh, I don’t mean Muslims,” she said. “I mean Syrians.”

As a Bush II Justice Department staffer, Kris Kobach built the post 9/11 Muslim registry, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. Here’s how it worked:

Under NSEERS, certain “foreign citizens and nationals” in the US had to come into immigration offices for fingerprinting, photos, and interviews — and then had to check in again at designated intervals.

But this “special registration” system was selective. It only applied to people on non-immigrant visas (including tourism and work visas). It only applied to men over the age of 16. And it only applied to people from a list of countries the Bush administration considered “havens for terrorists.”

There were 25 countries on the “special registration” list. Twenty-four were majority-Muslim countries. The 25th was North Korea [Dara Lind, “Donald Trump’s Proposed ‘Muslim Registry’, Explained,” Vox, 2016.11.16].

NSEERS never caught a single terrorist. If Krebs and Tapio really support a registry of people who pose a threat, they’d better make us white American men check in for fingerprints and mugshots every week.

While Krebs and Tapio spiral into the Nuremberg laws, Dusty Johnson qualifies as the Republican voice of reason by being only half-fascist:

The former public utilities commissioner and chief of staff to Gov. Dennis Daugaard said he supported Trump’s travel ban and opposed a proposal to establish a federal Muslim registry [Ferguson, 2017.12.13].

I don’t know if I should root for Dusty’s voice of quasi-sanity to prevail in the GOP primary or if I should cheer on Krebs and Tapio as they race to Roy Moore’s bottom and produce an arch-Trumpist GOP nominee whom Tim Bjorkman will all the more easily beat with a campaign focused on solving real problems for South Dakotans.

Update 09:45 CST: Krebs-resenting, Dusty Johnson-sponsored Republican blog Dakota War College declares the Krebs/Tapio/Trump registry a “stupendously awful idea” and “a step towards rounding identified people up” akin to the forced internment of Japanese Americans during World War 2.


  1. Nick Nemec 2017-12-14 08:43

    Wouldn’t such a registry be a violation of the 14th Amendment?

    “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    Pay particular attention to the last clause.

  2. o 2017-12-14 09:10

    Nick, I don’t think we live in a world of law any longer. Has President Trump shown deference to any law that restricts his ability to do as he wants? Certainly, there is the hope that an appeal/review catches a reasonable circuit or federal appellate court, but even the ultimate decision-makers, the Supreme Court, seem to be along for the ride with Trump’s agenda. This atmosphere is why so few Obama nominations to the bench were acted upon (through GOP obstruction); now Trump gets to appoint those judges to further his agenda. The real GOP take over of the US government was not the executive or legislative branch, it has been the judicial branch.

    President Bush set the crazy train of state authority in motion with the Patriot Act and its associated policies, now Trump is shoveling coal to the boiler with even fewer judicial checks on that pathway.

  3. John 2017-12-14 10:26

    o, I think you are correct if we listen to orange man who says he’s the president and is able to do what he wants.

  4. mike from iowa 2017-12-14 11:05

    Grassley did find a couple of unanimously unqualified candidates he couldn’t support and still has passed others. These are young inexperienced judicial nominees possibly seein forty or fifty years on the bench. We can not have that and if Senate had done it’s job and passed Garland, it wouldn’t be the problem it is.

    Dems need to pick up 2 more senate seats and then they stop all judicial appointments in their tracks. Kismet is a b…., wingnuts.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-12-14 22:39

    Nick, one would hope the 14th Amendment would kill any such registry, but the articles on NSEERS indicated that the courts were willing to balance that with national security interests. I understand that no right is absolute (although the 14th Amendment sounds pretty absolute), but we should still argue the evidence, showing that the white guys down the street pose far more risk of mayhem than immigrants from the specific countries on the Trump/Kobach list, and contend that the state cannot prove a compelling interest in abridging the 14th Amendment equal protection of law of everyone on our shores.

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