Election day had beautiful weather here in the Midwest. As I was standing in line to vote, an older man in front of me began chatting with me. We talked about the weather, and that was about it. He didn't know what I do and I don't know what he does. All of a sudden, totally out of the blue, he says disgustedly "you know there are about 100,000 illegal aliens in this area, and every one of them is going to vote today." I suppose that he thought, me being a middle aged white guy and all, that I would agree with him on this observation.
I was stunned. So stunned that I immediately shot back, "no they aren't. Why would they do that? Why would they risk being detected and arrested by voting when they are trying to hide out here? You know, they will have a permanent bar to the U.S. if they falsely claim to be U.S. citizens. There is absolutely no evidence of illegal voting by undocumented immigrants."
I think he was a little stunned at my response and muttered something like, "well, I don't know." And then neither of us spoke to each other the rest of the awkward time we stood in line. We went to our separate booths and doubtless voted our separate ways.
We had not been talking about immigration or politics or anything that would have ellicited such a statement. I even looked at my clothes to see if I was wearing some kind of button or something that gave me away. I wondered if he had seen bumper stickers on my car or something, but I don't see how since I had to park a couple of blocks away, etc.
Then I saw it. A 20 something Asian man placed his ballot in the box and walked out the door. Maybe my line friend assumed that because this guy (who for all we know was born in the U.S.) looked Asian, he must be an illegal alien.
I kept wondering, where does this come from? Was this just some random ignorant bigotry coming out in what he thought must be a welcoming environment? Surely this couldn't be a widespread serious belief. Then a couple of days ago I saw that local hero Kris Kobach was going to run for office again, probably for attorney general or secretary of state in Kansas. His supporters cited as their concerns that the current state administration wasn't doing enough to guard against voter fraud by illegel immigrants.
This from the Joplin Globe:
"Many of Kobach’s fellow conservative Republicans question whether the state is doing enough to prevent illegal immigrants from voting. Incumbent Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh, also a Republican, has said there’s no evidence of significant problems."
Of course, the lack of evidence is no barrier to those who want to blame undocumented persons for every problem they see in the country. Unfortunately, this is just more demagoguery against a voiceless group.