A Native American politician served Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach a dose of historical perspective on illegal immigration Wednesday.
Kobach, a prominent immigration hardliner and one of the minds behind Arizona’s SB 1070, appeared before the Kansas legislature to push a law that would disqualify undocumented immigrants from paying in-state student tuition rates at public universities.
But State Rep. Ponka-We Victors (D-Wichita), a member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma and the Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona, turned the tables on Kobach as she questioned him about the bill.
“I think it’s funny Mr. Kobach, because when you mention illegal immigrant, I think of all of you,” said Victors, drawing cheers from the crowd, according to the Capitol Journal.
The comment quickly made the rounds on social media, where people shared this image:
Victors’ interpretation is, of course, historically accurate. Europeans colonized the area known today as the Americas in a series of campaigns that began after Christopher Columbus sailed to the Western hemisphere in 1492.
For nearly 10 years, Kansas has allowed undocumented immigrants who graduate from the state’s high schools after living in Kansas for more than three years to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. Kobach, who also wants to pass a law modeled on the Arizona’s SB 1070 in Kansas, says the tuition law should be overturned in order to privilege U.S. citizens. Kobach's plan would make college more expensive for undocumented immigrants who have lived and gone to school in Kansas and whose parents -- at the very least -- pay sales taxes.
The Victors-Kobach exchange wasn’t the only highlight of the spirited hearing on HB 2192.
Rep. Allan Rothlisberg (R-Grandview Plaza) ranted about drug cartels and the Spanish option on automated phone menus.
“This is an English-speaking country,” Rothlisberg said, according to the Lawrence Journal-World.
It wasn’t clear from news reports why drug cartels would need to save money on college tuition. And we’re going to go out on a limb and assume that most of the 630 immigrants who pay in-state tuition rates under current Kansas law also speak some English.
See how Twitter users reacted to State Rep. Ponka-We Victors' comment in the slideshow below.