Tancredo Takes Charge on Immigration

One of the big issues facing voters in this year’s midterm congressional elections will be border security. The federal government has not done a good job in protecting the U.S. border with Mexico and to paraphrase a famous line in the movie “Network,” Americans living along that Mexican border are “mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore.”

We have seen some Americans taking action. The “Minutemen” group comes to mind. The U.S. Border Patrol can’t be everywhere and the “Minutemen” are a good group of citizens who have decided to do something about it instead of just sitting around talking about it.

It seems that the only member of Congress who has had the guts to fight this illegal immigration has been Colorado Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, and his district isn’t even on the Mexican border.

Just recently, Tancredo announced he wants to push for provisions that would expand and strengthen House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner’s immigration reform bill. In particular, Tancredo wants a series of border security provisions get an up or down floor vote by House members.

“Conservatives in the House have worked for years to move immigration reform and to secure our borders. Our proposals represent some of the most innovative policy solutions that Congress has to offer,” Tancredo said.

“We know that not all of our ideas will become law; we merely ask that our proposals be given an up-or-down vote. Our message today is clear: border security is too important and the chance for real reform is too rare to take any idea off the table,” Tancredo concluded.

Tancredo believes that Sensenbrenner’s bill, H.R. 4437, is a first step toward gaining control of the border and enforcing the law. Sensenbrenner’s bill calls for mandatory verification of employees’ legal status, increases penalties for alien smuggling, authorizes limited immigration cooperation between local and federal law enforcement, and prevents frivolous lawsuits by illegal aliens.

Tancredo also said, “We must push forward with securing our border, building a fence and deploying military technology. We must reinvest meaning in citizenship, getting rid of the incentive to birth so-called anchor babies on U.S. soil. We must end illegal alien sanctuary policies which pit officer against officer, and one level of government against another.”

“It has been nearly a decade since Congress rewrote immigration law, and we are only now dealing with it because we have a security crisis on our hands,” said Tancredo. “Over the last decade, Americans have cried out to seal our porous borders and to enforce the law. We must seize this opportunity to accomplish real reform.”

To that, I say, Amen. What really puzzles me is why President Bush is being so touchy-feely on this. I think I know the reason why. Bush, like many other Republicans, does not want to be perceived as a racist. The GOP wants those Hispanic voters voting Republican, and I would imagine if the President said something tough about border security, the Hispanics would vote Democratic. Something they normally do anyway.

Also, the President probably does not want to alienate Mexico and his friend President Vicente Fox. Mexico hasn’t lifted a finger in trying to stop illegal immigrants. NAFTA, CAFTA and all these other trade agreements hasn’t shifted the Mexican government stance on stopping illegal immigration. Trade agreements do nothing but cost Americans their jobs.

My former boss, Rep. Mac Collins of Georgia, used to say, “We don’t need free trade we need fair trade. I am not a free trader I am a fair trader.”

The situation with Mexico is different than with Canada. As a native of Detroit, I grew up across the river from the Dominion of Canada. Many Canadians drove across the river to do jobs in Michigan. But the Canadians who came over, most of them anyway, went home to Canada after their work shifts were over in the United States. Not so with Mexicans. They come over the border and stay and perform jobs illegally because they get better pay in the United States and are willing to do the jobs that Americans won’t do.

It is time for the United States to get tough with Mexico. Laws against illegal immigration must be more tightly enforced. We don’t need a guest worker program. That is amnesty for illegals. Employers should be penalized for hiring illegals.

How do we know that Osama bin Laden’s gang won’t cross the Mexican border if they are not doing so already and plot another 9/11 type of attack against the United States.

The answer is not another “agreement” with Mexico or any other government that threatens our interest.

One group fighting illegal immigration is the Federation for American Immigration Reform known as “FAIR.” They say, “America must honor it responsibilities to protect people who are fleeing true political persecution as defined by U.S. and international law. Efforts to expand those definitions to include all forms of “social persecution” invite massive fraud and endanger the security of this nation. Similarly, treating aliens illegally residing in the country the same as foreigners on legal visitor visas for purposes of the Temporary Protected Status designation is illogical and a form of amnesty that must be ended.”


Just before 2005 ended, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to construct some 700 miles of fence on the U.S.-Mexican border. This is an idea that should be taken seriously. The border must remain militarized and closed. It is the busiest American frontier and not just a crossing point for Mexicans on their way to work. It has become a popular route for drug dealers and smugglers.

It is time for Congress , the Bush administration all agencies of the federal government to get bold and tough against illegal immigration and not continue this timidity.