Kansas state Rep. Connie O'Brien (R-Tonganoxie) has really good eyesight. Like, so good, she can eyeball a person's immigration status from across the room. It's a neat party trick, but you probably shouldn't trot it out during debate over repealing a state law that allows the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates. Because then you just look racist.
O'Brien recently told the House Federal and State Affairs Committee a story that she thought would bolster the position of those trying to repeal the bill. She recalled watching a Kansas City Community College student attempt to get financial aid without the identification she needed to do so. O'Brien said it was an example of an illegal trying to get aid. But how did she know this? By her skin color, that's how!
Yes, according to the Wichita Eagle,
O'Brien told the committee, "Well, she wasn't black, she wasn't Asian,
and she had the olive complexion." (One of these things is not like the other...) There you have it. Olive complexion
means illegal. Man, if it's that simple, maybe we don't even need Kansas
Secretary of State Kris Kobach's laws that demand papers from suspected
undocumented people. Just have O'Brien give 'em a once-over and you'll
have your answer.
Democrats gave her crap for the statement, with Kansas Democratic Party
executive director Kenny Johnston calling it "blatant racism." And, to
her credit, O'Brien has issued an apology for her amazing abilities.
According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, she released a statement that
read in part:
"I understand how they could have been misconstrued,"
O'Brien said in a statement. "I misspoke and apologize to those I
offended. I have learned from this situation and will be more careful
with my choice of words in the future."
But she maintains that she isn't sorry for wanting the children of people in the
country illegally to pay full-price tuition. Fair enough.