This flag-waving flank steak has been inspired ever since the squeaker victory of Republican Kris Kobach over his primary opponent, Adam Taff, by a mere 207 votes in Kansas' 3rd Congressional District last month. The clean-cut Kobach, who calls himself a "common-sense conservative," now faces incumbent Dennis Moore, a Democrat. And a central part of Kobach's candidacy is his fiery fidelity to national security.
Kobach figures too many potential Osama bin Ladens can slip into this country through our borders, and he says it's time to seal 'em up tighter than a drum.
No wonder, then, that Kobach freaked out earlier this year when the state of Kansas passed a law, the so-called Dream Act, that would allow the children of illegal immigrants to go to Kansas universities and pay in-state tuition prices, just like they were legal residents!
Hey, Osama! Move to the heartland, and we'll give your kids a break on their college fees!
Naturally Kobach was quick to react: In July, acting as attorney for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, Kobach filed a lawsuit in an attempt to overturn the Dream Act (see State Lines, page 13).
However, Kobach didn't move quickly enough to keep the law from going into effect and allowing some students to begin their college careers at a discount rate this term.
Yikes! We figured we better do a little surveillance work, just to make sure there wasn't any bomb-makin' going on between classes.
Kobach had warned that passage of the Dream Act would lead to the floodgates opening and hordes of students taking advantage of lower tuition. The effect, he warned, could have dire consequences for Kansas taxpayers, who'd have to help pick up the bill to educate all those furiners.
But now that school has actually started, those hordes haven't shown up. In fact, says Melinda Lewis of El Centro, despite her attempts to help youngsters make use of the law, she knows of only a handful who have slipped into Kansas' 4-year schools. Apparently, the law's numerous requirements -- a high school diploma, 3 years' residency in Kansas and a promise to apply for U.S. citizenship -- plus all the normal things it takes to get into college, such as decent grades, keep just anyone from taking advantage.
Finding these budding terrorists was going to be tougher than we thought. Lucky for us, we got a break, courtesy of President George W. Bush.
Last month, the commander in chief unwittingly gave an award to one of the sneaky young provocateurs in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Even bin Laden himself couldn't have helped but admire the brazenness of it all when Andrea Pardo, recent Wyandotte High School graduate, accepted the president's Volunteer Service Award in the nation's Capitol on August 9.
Oh, that Pardo's a wily one.
Brought to this country from Mexico 3 years ago by her parents, Pardo is clearly a poster girl for everything Kobach has been tryin' to warn us about.
Not only is the new Kansas State University freshman getting a break on her tuition; the Strip hears that she has decided to major in architecture.
As in big buildings. And their weaknesses.
We figure all the spots must have been taken in the classes on how to fly 747s but not land or take off.
The Strip set out to track down Pardo, but she proved elusive. It took her 2 whole days to return our phone call. What was the holdup?
"I'm majoring in architecture," she told us in a suspiciously thick accent. "It's hard. You have to put a lot of hours in on nights and weekends." Besides an architecture survey and a studio class, she is studying the history of design and has enrolled in classes on public speaking, leadership and natural disasters. That full schedule fits her profile: graduating third in her class at Wyandotte High, Pardo has spent countless hours helping out her neighborhood with voter registration and other pinko activities.
At one point, Pardo asked to switch the language of the conversation to Spanish, but this meat patty stopped her in her tracks. This is the U.S. of A., missy. We speak God's English around here.
"I need to become more fluent," she admitted. "I know it's going to take months. But in classes, I'm really not having problems."
Pardo tried to convince this tenderloin that she's also facing major challenges: She's the only Spanish speaker in a house of forty young women, and she is trying to find scholarships that don't require U.S. citizenship. Her parents, who work in a Kansas City, Kansas, restaurant, are struggling to come up with the $12,000 or so in annual tuition, Pardo said. They could never afford the yearly $22,000 her schooling would cost if not for the Dream Act.
Oh, she had a heart-tugging tale to tell. But we weren't buying it. Hadn't she heard that Kobach considered her a threat to national security?
"I don't know a lot about him. I don't know what he's thinking about us," Pardo replied. "We're not taking anything from him. We're not going to harm anything or anybody."
The Strip turned to Kobach for a righteous comeback. Finding him at a Rock the Vote concert September 10 in Westport, we asked what he thought about Pardo parlayin' her high school success into a sweet deal at K-State.
"Everybody's a citizen of one country," he said. "One option [for Pardo] is a subsidized education in her own country."
The candidate was being polite, though. So the Strip will translate the answer he gave when this meat patty told him about the young architecture student who just won a presidential award for her work in the community:
Go back to Mexico, bee-yatch.