Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., has a simple answer to the people who say its not possible to deport nearly twenty million illegal aliens as a means of resolving the immigration problem: “Yes, you can!”
As one of four speakers at Accuracy in Academia’s Conservative University forum on immigration, Tancredo spoke about the challenges and political implications associated with addressing the hot topic of immigration reform. Having the role of Chairman of the bipartisan House Immigration Reform Caucus provides him with the status as a political expert on the subject.
Speaking to the difficulties of establishing immigration reform laws, Rep. Tancredo acknowledged that many Americans view borders as anachronistic and relayed their message: “Why would we be building walls on the border when, in fact, borders are going to become meaningless?” Because there exists a hope for borders to become obsolete in favor of a free trade market region similar to the European Union, Rep. Tancredo admitted, “These issues… are preventing us from doing what we need to do about borders.”
Seeing this matter as one of the utmost importance for the 2006 midterm election cycle, Rep. Tancredo recognized that many of his fellow Republicans are hesitant to support immigration reform legislation for fear of alienating potential voters, especially those in the Hispanic community. To that end, he discussed the passage of Arizona Proposition 200 in 2004, which requires proof of citizenship before individuals in the state can receive social benefits or register to vote, and the fact that it received 47% of the Hispanic vote at the ballot.
“We will not lose the election, we will not lose Hispanic votes, if we push for secure borders, a common language, and the idea of holding us together as a nation,” Rep. Tancredo said to nay-saying Republicans. He then went on to question whether his Grand Old Party had the political will to push an immigration reform bill through Congress before the election: “Do we have the actual nerve?”
Representative Tancredo is a man with ideas and a man with answers. For every scenario that poses as an obstacle to immigration reform, he presented a solution. To the question of deporting twenty million people, he simply offered, “Yes you can, the answer is yes!”
He even proposed an idea that is simple in its objective: “Stop giving [illegal immigrants] jobs.” Rehashing the fact that providing jobs to people who are not legally in this country is illegal, he quipped, “So I’ve got another bold radical idea for us – Enforce the law!” In that way, the government would not need to expend resources on deporting these immigrants, but rather these people would willingly return home when faced with the prospect of no economic opportunities for them here.
Recognizing that a primary step to managing this issue is better law enforcement, Rep. Tancredo noted, “If you don’t like the law, you change the law, but you don’t keep ignoring the law.”
Ending his speech on a high note, Tancredo left his captivated audience, but not before offering a job to this standing-room only crowd and answering a barrage of questions about his formative opinions.
Jacqueline Merzer is an intern at Accuracy in Media, Accuracy in Academia’s parent group.