Immigration hardliner says Trump team talking wall, Muslim registry

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NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, Nov 15 (Reuters) - An architect of anti-immigration efforts who says he is advising President-elect Donald Trump said the new administration could push ahead rapidly on construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall without seeking immediate congressional approval.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped write tough immigration laws in Arizona and elsewhere, said in an interview that Trump's policy advisers had also discussed drafting a proposal for his consideration to reinstate a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.

Kobach, who media reports say is a key member of Trump's transition team, said he had participated in regular conference calls with about a dozen Trump immigration advisers for the past two to three months.

RELATED: Muslim people respond to Donald Trump

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Muslim people respond to Donald Trump
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Muslim people respond to Donald Trump
Gihan Nagui, a 27-year-old Egyptian Muslim marketing and research manager, poses for a photograph at her apartment in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. âIt doesnât upset me that much that he said this. It is when I see thereâs a mass following that supports his idiotic rambling that worries me,â said Nagui reacting to Donald Trump's speech. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Ahmed Samra, a 27-year-old Egyptian Muslim political analyst poses for a photograph at his apartment in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. âDonald Tumpâs comments will only amplify the feelings of the Muslim population -- marginalized and demonized. His bigotry will only succeed in empowering the very radical groups he fears while alienating the entire Muslim community, which pays the highest price in fighting this evil,â said Samra reacting to Donald Trump's speech. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Feras Ali Abou Ghaben, a 30-year-old Palestinian American Muslim stock broker, poses for a photograph at an apartment in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2015. "Donald Trump's speech reminded me of Hitler. Trump has managed to gain votes through hate speech. I do not see anyone doing anything about it and that scares me. What terrified me even more was the applause that came after his speech," said Abou Ghaben. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Kim El Narsh, a 28-year-old Egyptian Muslim entrepreneur, poses for a photograph in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. âI think Donald Trump is an ignorant human who should not be allowed to run as president. He does not stand for what the U.S. stands for. How can he run for president when he does not respect what the founding fathers stood for. If Trump became president of the United States there would be a huge possibility it will become a non-United States of America,â said El Narsh reacting to Trump's speech. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Lana Karim, a 25-year-old Egyptian Muslim marketing and sales manager, poses for a photograph in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. In response to Donald Trump's call on Monday for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States", Karim says, âWhen we look at the history of the U.S. we find that it is a country that was made up of migrants from all walks of life. It is really sad to see that someone whoâs extremely educated can think this way, let alone have the audacity to say a statement like that. Donald Trumpâs statement set our worlds back one hundred years in terms of social acceptance and diversity.â (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Aasim Salman, 47, owner of a coffee shop, speaks to the Associated Press about comments by U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, in Baghdad, Iraq on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. "I visited the coffee shops in the U.S. and saw many Americans sitting there, smiling and laughing. I donât see any difference between us, why does Trump want to divide us?" he asked. "Iâm confident the American people will punish him and not vote for him at all. This would bring American back to past centuries when the U.S. suffered from racial discrimination." (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Pakistani Naqash Bhatti talks to The Associated Press in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. Bhatti said, "I think the demand to ban the entry of Muslims into the United States makes no sense. Better sense must prevail if the world has to win the war against terrorism." Pakistani Muslims condemned Trump for calling for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
Z.A. Qureshi, a professor at the International Relations department at the private Preston university talks to the Associated Press in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. Qureshi said Donald Trump has âmade an irresponsible statementâ and âI am shocked and amazed to know that a presidential candidate can go to such an extent for political gains.â Pakistani Muslims condemned Trump for calling for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
Thamer Gharaib, 50, speaks to the Associated Press about comments by U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, in Baghdad, Iraq on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. âI am a businessman, I import goods from America to Iraq and I have plans to enter the U.S. market, but what happens when the President of the greatest and most powerful nation in the world thinks this way?" he asks. "I would tell him not to manipulate the feelings of the people just to win. The blood of the innocent is more important than winning.â (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Sadia Hafeez, a university student in Islamabad, Pakistan, told the Associated Press :"Donald Trump is pitching non-Muslims against Muslims for political reasons," Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. Pakistani Muslims condemned Trump for calling for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
Keysar Trad, chairman of the Sydney-based Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, poses for a photo in front of his home in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. "Donald Trumpâs statement is a desperate statement by a desperate man who knows that heâs clutching at straws and has no chance of winning the election," said Trad. "So heâs trying to win it off the back of the Islamophobia industry." U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," immigrants and visitors alike, because of what he describes as hatred among "large segments of the Muslim population" toward Americans. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
Dr. Heval Mohamed Kelli is photographed at Emory University where he was recently awarded a four-year fellowship in cardiology Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in Atlanta. Kelli was 17 when his family, Kurdish refugees from Syria, came to metro Atlanta in 2001, exactly two weeks after the terrorist attacks in New York. Now the 32-year-old physician is working to give back to his adopted home. Most Sundays he works at a clinic which provides free medical services to low-income patients just a block from the small apartment he lived in when his family arrived 14 years ago. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
In this Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015 photo, Sam Obeidi, 58, left, and Mousa Obeidi, 90, pose for a photo in their art gallery in Anchorage, Alaska. Mousa says he was the first Muslim in Alaska when he arrived in 1964, and his son, Sam, helps new immigrants to Anchorage integrate into the American way of of life. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Abdul Karim Ali stands in front of his natural body care products booth at the CW Bill Young VA Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. Ali became a Muslim in 1975 and says the religion has inspired him to serve his community in various ways, including participation in an interfaith council, local politics and a neighborhood watch group. (AP Photo/Tamara Lush)
Sally Baraka poses for a photo in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. As a Muslim and Arab-American, Baraka calls herself "a devout Philadelphian" who is an ambassador to her city, her country and her faith. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Farris Barakat looks over the railing inside the future home of the Light House project in downtown Raleigh, N.C., on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. The house belonged to his brother, Deah, who was gunned down in February with his wife and her sister. "Deah" is Arabic for "light," and the family hopes the center will help Americans understand that Islam is compatible with the nation's values. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
Farris Barakat stands in front of the Light House in downtown Raleigh, N.C., on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. The house belonged to his brother, Deah, who was gunned down in February along with his wife and her sister. This act of brutality set the older brother on a new path. He left his job as a business manager with a local courier service and began renovating the property his brother owned. "Our community _ our Muslim community _ doesn't really do too much ... outreach work" _ and that will be part of the Light House's aim, says Barakat, whose parents are from Syria but who was born in Raleigh. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
In this Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015 photo, Abe Mashhour, head basketball coach at Schoolcraft College, directs a practice session in Livonia, Mich. Mashhour came to the U.S. from Lebanon at the age of 4 - the youngest child of nine to escape that nation's civil war. His family moved to Dearborn, Mich., which has a large and longstanding Arab-American community. As a Muslim, he says, "my faith is the center of who I am and what I was taught by my parents," and considers himself "very blessed and fortunate to grow up in this country." (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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Trump's transition team did not respond to requests for confirmation of Kobach's role. The president-elect has not committed to following any specific recommendations from advisory groups.

Trump, who scored an upset victory last week over Democrat Hillary Clinton, made building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border a central issue of his campaign and has pledged to step up immigration enforcement against the country's 11 million undocumented immigrants. He has also said he supports "extreme vetting" of Muslims entering the United States as a national security measure.

Kobach told Reuters last Friday that the immigration group had discussed drafting executive orders for the president-elect's review "so that Trump and the Department of Homeland Security hit the ground running."

To implement Trump's call for "extreme vetting" of some Muslim immigrants, Kobach said the immigration policy group could recommend the reinstatement of a national registry of immigrants and visitors who enter the United States on visas from countries where extremist organizations are active.

Kobach helped design the program, known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, while serving in Republican President George W. Bush's Department of Justice after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by al Qaeda militants.

Under NSEERS, people from countries deemed "higher risk" were required to undergo interrogations and fingerprinting on entering the United States. Some non-citizen male U.S. residents over the age of 16 from countries with active militant threats were required to register in person at government offices and periodically check in.

NSEERS was abandoned in 2011 after it was deemed redundant by the Department of Homeland Security and criticized by civil rights groups for unfairly targeting immigrants from Muslim- majority nations.

Kobach said the immigration advisers were also looking at how the Homeland Security Department could move rapidly on border wall construction without approval from Congress by reappropriating existing funds in the current budget. He acknowledged "that future fiscal years will require additional appropriations."

Congress, which is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans, could object to redirecting DHS funds designated for other purposes.

HELPED DRAFT TOUGH ARIZONA LAW

Kobach has worked with allies across the United States on drafting laws and pursuing legal actions to crack down on illegal immigration.

RELATED: Twitter reacts to Trump's describing cabinet picks as 'finalists'

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Twitter reacts to Trump describing cabinet picks as 'finalists'
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Twitter reacts to Trump describing cabinet picks as 'finalists'
@realDonaldTrump does this mean there is a new season of the apprentice or
@realDonaldTrump This isn't a contest, dude. You're literally about to run the USA. Are you serious?
@realDonaldTrump doesn't sound so organized? Is this the apprentice???
.@realDonaldTrump maybe let America text in and vote then wait a day for the live results show?
@realDonaldTrump Welcome to Cabinet Apprentice, The Reality Show. Donald will give roses to all the "finalists"
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In 2010, he helped draft an Arizona law that required state and local officials to check the immigration status of individuals stopped by police. Parts of the law, which was fiercely opposed by Hispanic and civil rights groups, were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011.

Kobach was also the architect of a 2013 Kansas law requiring voters to provide proof-of-citizenship documents, such as birth certificates or U.S. passports, when registering for the first time. A U.S. appeals court blocked that law after challenges from civil rights groups.

Kobach said in the interview he believed that illegal immigrants in some cases should be deported before a conviction if they have been charged with a violent crime. Trump said in an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes" that aired on Sunday that once he took office, he would remove immigrants with criminal records who are in the country illegally.

Kobach said the immigration group had also discussed ways of overturning President Barack Obama's 2012 executive action that has granted temporary deportation relief and work permits to more than 700,000 undocumented people or "dreamers" who came to the United States as children of illegal immigrants.

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