Kansas state rep. Connie O’Brien claims she can spot ‘illegals’ based on ‘olive complexion’
Kansas state Rep. Connie O’Brien testified that she can tell if someone is “illegal” based on the person’s “olive” skin complexion.
O’Brien, a Republican representing the 42nd district, made the controversial comments while recounting a story of how her son was denied college financial aid while another student who “had the olive complexion” and “not originally from this country” was trying to her retrieve scholarship funds without submitting a photo ID. (FACT: O’Brien is the sponsor of HB2006, which repeals K.S.A. 76-731a that “grants residency for tuition purposes to certain aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States.”)
Listen to O’Brien’s testimony before the Kansas Federal and State Affairs Committee or read the transcript below:
Rep. Connie O’Brien: Thank you Mr. Chairman. In August of 2010, I accompanied my son to enroll in college. After being out of school for about six years, he decided he wanted to go to college. I went along for moral support because I’ve been…in this Kansas community college so I kind of knew how to do things. So we filled out the facts, the report then we were told he was not eligible for financial aid.
We were told to proceed to the business office and ask for a payment plan. When we arrived at the business office, there was a line. We had to wait our turn. But the line was getting so long, they opened up another window. They have a line that you’re supposed to stand behind so you can’t hear what’s going on at the different window. So we get up to the line, and the lady calls us.
And the young lady next to us said – we couldn’t help but overhear because she was standing right next to us – she goes, “I’m here to get my scholarship money.”
The clerk said, “I need to see a photo ID.”
And the girl responded, “I don’t have a photo ID.”
The clerk then asked, “I need to see a state ID.”
Then she goes, “I don’t have a state ID.”
[Clerk] “You don’t have a federal or state ID?”
[Student] “No, I do not have them.”
So the clerk asks, “Do you drive?”
[Student] “Yes, I drive.”
[Clerk] “Do you drive? Do you have a driver’s license?”
[Student] “No, I don’t have a driver’s license.”
[Clerk] “But you drove here?”
[Student] “Yeah, I drove here.”
So she said “I don’t have a driver’s license.”
And the [clerk] repeated “I need a federal or state ID with your photo to give you your scholarship.”
And the girl reiterated “I do not have a photo ID.” Then the young woman asked if she could talk to someone else to see about getting her scholarship money.
My son is a Kansas resident, born here, raised here, doesn’t qualify for financial aid. Yet this girl was going to get financial aid. My son was kind of upset about it because he works and pays for his own schooling and his books and everything, and he didn’t think that was fair. We didn’t ask the girl what nationality she was. We didn’t think that was proper. But we could tell by looking at her that she was not originally from this country. So that’s my testimony, and I’ll stand for questions.
Rep. Sean Gatewood: Can you expand on how you could tell that they were illegal?
Rep. Connie O’Brien: Well, she wasn’t black, she wasn’t Asian, and she had the olive complexion. She could have been from Afghanistan. My son-in-law is from Afghanistan, and he has olive complexion. But it struck me that since she didn’t have her driver’s license, she’s driving on our streets and even, you know, that’s illegal.
Here is O’Brien’s official state email address email@example.com for those of you who wish to educate her on racial awareness or voice your opinions on this matter.
- ThinkProgress.org: KS GOP Rep. Connie O’Brien says she can tell who is ‘illegal’ because they have ‘the olive complexion’
- CJOnline.com: Dems accuse O’Brien of racism
- Connie O’Brien’s campaign website