Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach tells The Hutchinson News he had no idea he was going to be on a panel discussion with a man who has ties to a white nationalist group.
White nationalism is a political ideology or belief that white people are superior to people of other races. The panel is part of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
According to the The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights:
Vandervoort was at the center of white nationalist activity during his time in Illinois. While he was in charge, Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance often held joint meetings with the local chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens. The group held events featuring numerous white nationalist figures. Vandervoort also made appearances at white nationalist events outside Illinois, for instance participating in the 2009 Preserving Western Civilization Conference.
Started as a modest newsletter in 1990, American Renaissance has grown into an important vehicle for white nationalist ideas. American Renaissance first described itself as a "literate, undeceived journal of race, immigration and the decline of civility." It claimed that "White people" had lost their voice and that the United States was in danger of losing its "national and cultural core."
On its own website, American Renaissance posts:
A large segment of the white American population--perhaps the majority--wants what you and we want. A sense of genuine unity and community rather than the splinteredness and alienation that enforced-from-above "diversity" brings with it. Freedom to choose who to associate with, who to live among, who to work with. Pride in our race instead of perpetual self-degradation. Commitment to our people and our culture, rather than chasing after a "multicultural" society that is in reality a society without culture and without identity.
The CPAC panel, entitled "Immigration: High Fences, Wide Gates: States vs. the Feds, the Rule of Law & American Identity" is scheduled for Saturday morning. In addition to Kobach and Vandervoort, it will include Florida Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart and David Rivera. The panel's moderator is Niger Innis, spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality.
For his part, Kobach says he had no idea who was going to be on the panel when he accepted the invitation. He says it's "ridiculous” to link Hispanic members of Congress and CORE’s spokesman to white nationalism.
In addition to his position as Kansas' top election official, Kobach is an unpaid adviser on immigration issues to Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.
A former UMKC law professor, Kobach is nationally known for advising state and local officials on illegal immigration. He helped draft controversial laws in Alabama and Arizona.
Vandervoort is now the executive director of ProEnglish which opposes bilingual ballots and bilingual education. The group hosted another panel discussion entitled “The Failure of Multiculturalism.”