"Does the GOP have a death wish?" That's what former congressman, former gubernatorial candidate and longtime rabble-rouser Tom Tancredo asks, in the wake of a number of Republicans signing off last week on the Colorado Compact on Immigration.
Tancredo, who left the Rrepublican Party to run for governor in 2010, is now ostensibly back in the fold. But he definitely was not among the GOP leaders signing onto the compact.
In response to the December 9 announcement of the Colorado Compact -- which was signed by 87 public leaders, elected officials and civic organizations, with more joining since -- Tancredo sent out this e-mail missive:
Does the GOP have a death wish?
Whenever a political party experiences a crushing defeat, especially in an election where all indicators were pointing toward a win, finger pointing and scapegoating naturally tend to ensue.
Unfortunately, this behavior only intensifies the decades-old conflict between "conservatives" and "moderates" within the Republican Party. One such battle within that conflict revolves around the issue of immigration. We are told that if the Party would just adopt a "softer tone" and give in on the push for amnesty, we would garner the vote of Hispanic Americans. Heeding this admonition, several well-known Colorado Republicans have already signed onto something called The Colorado Compact. This "Compact," spearheaded by Democrat Senator Michael Bennet, is nothing more than a compilation of platitudes and weasel words designed to garner support for Amnesty.
As you know, I have some strong feelings on the topic of amnesty and have some perhaps surprising and enlightening information I would like to share with you and your organization. I think you will be surprised at what research has shown about the "Hispanic vote."
It is important that we work together on this very critical issue. I would enjoy and very much appreciate the opportunity to speak at one of your group's upcoming meetings. If you have an interest, please reply to this e-mail, indicating your organization's name, location and a specific date(s) and time(s) that will work for you. My staff will contact you to work out scheduling details. If time will allow, I would also be happy to debate the issue.
Please feel free to share this with others. I look forward to meeting with as people as possible.
And how many people have contacted Tancredo in response? "Exactly one," he told me Tuesday, and laughed. He did have a chat with Ken Buck, who called Tancredo when the former Republican Senate candidate (he lost to Bennet) signed on to the Colorado Compact.
His advice for any Republican looking at the Colorado Compact? "Do anything you want," Tancredo says. "I'm telling you you will not grt a single vote on it."
Whether Republicans support amnesty, support the Dream Act, "as Hispanics progress, they do not shift their support to Republicans," Tancredo points out. "The Republican Party is demographically on life support."
In Colorado, Republican candidate Dan Maes barely won 10 percent of the vote in his 2010 run for governor. (If he'd fallen below 10 percent, Republicans would have lost their major-party status in this state.) In contrast, Tancredo got over 36 percent of the vote as the American Constitution Party candidate. And John Hickenlooper, of course, occupies the Governor's Office today.
Tancredo, who ran for president two years earlier just so he could get people talking about immigration, isn't afraid to take on other controversial topics. He supported Amendment 64, for example. But immigration is still the issue on which he stakes his flag. The Colorado Compact is "all platitudes and bullshit," he says, "almost word for word taken from one in Utah."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
So he's done his own version of the Colorado Compact for Immigration Fairness; keep reading to see it. Here's Tom Tancredo's version of the Colorado Compact (he added the words in CAPS to the original):
Colorado Compact for Immigration FAIRNESS If "fairness" is one key test for immigration policy, then the fairness standard must be applied to all six constituencies affected by immigration law -- immigrants legal and illegal, taxpayers, employers, workers, and the public at large. All citizens are "stakeholders," not only employers and immigrants.
THE COLORADO COMPACT FOR IMMIGRATION FAIRNESS IS AN ATTEMPT TO OUTLINE A PATH FORWARD ON IMMIGRATION REFORM THAT RESPECTS BOTH THE RULE OF LAW AND ELEMENTARY FAIRNESS OF ALL COLORADANS.
Federal Responsibility Since immigration law is inescapably a federal responsibility, we urgeColorado's congressional delegation to support federal immigration law that improves our immigration system, EMBODIES PRINCIPLES OF FAIRNESS FOR LEGAL IMMIGRANTS WHO HAVE WAITED MANY YEARS TO ENTER OUR COUNTRY LAWFULLY, keeps our communities safe, and protects our borders.
ADDITIONALLY, TO RECOGNIZE AND FORTIFY CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY OVER IMMIGRATION LAW, WE FURTHER URGE OUR CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO EXPRESS STRONG OPPOSITION TO FEDERAL AGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE EDICTS IN IMMIGRATION MATTERS WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN AUTHORIZED BY AN ACT OF CONGRESS. Strengthening Our Economy Colorado is best served by a free market philosophy that maximizes individual freedom and opportunity. Our immigration system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses while protecting the interests of ALL WORKERS, INCLUDING WORKERS VICTIMIZED BY WAGE SUPPRESSION. This includes a visa system that is both responsive and effective at meeting the demands of our economy AND IS FAIR TO UNEMPLOYED WORKERS DENIED JOBS DUE TO ILLEGAL WORKERS HIRED AT LOWER WAGES. It should also acknowledge and balance both the economic contributions AND TAXPAYER COSTS WHICH LEGAL AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS MAKE AS WORKERS, TAXPAYERS, CONSUMERS AND CLIENTS OF PUBLIC SAFETY NET PROGRAMS. Inspiring Our National Security We believe that maintaining the safety and security of the United States is THE utmost priority. ABOVE ALL, our immigration system must insure the protection of our communities and national borders, A PRIORITY THAT CAN ONLY BE MADE CREDIBLE TY DEMONSTRATED BORDER SECURITY IN ADVANCE OF ANY GRANT OF LEGAL STATUS TO UNAUTHORIZED IMMIGRANTS ALREADY RESIDENT IN OUR COUNTRY.
Family Strong families are critical to developing successful individuals and cohesive communities. Immigration policies, where possible, should prioritize close families together in order to insure the most supportive home environment for all children across our state. FURTHER, A SUPPORTIVE HOME ENVIRONMENT REQUIRES THE EXPULSION FROM THE COMMUNITY OF PERSONS CONVICTED OF ANY SERIOUS CRIME, INCLUDING ANY CONVICTION FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OR TWO OR MORE CONVICTIONS FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS. Fair and Effective Enforcement We support a law enforcement strategy that focuses on public safety, targets serious crime, and safeguards witnesses and victims. We further urge a reasonable and predictable regulatory environment that considers the interests of, and unintended consequences to, BUSINESSES, EMPLOYED AND UNEMPLOYED WORKERS, TAXPAYERS AND CONSUMERS. Furthermore, IN FAIRNESS TO ALL WORKERS AND UNEMPLOYED OR UNDEREMPLOYED JOB-SEEKERS, the broader reform effort MUST INCLUDE a way to accurately, reliably and affordably determine who is permitted to work, insuring an adequate AND LAW-ABIDING labor force for a STRUGGLING ECONOMY. ADDITIONALLY, WE URGE THE SUPPORT FOR ADEQUATE FEDERAL FUNDING FOR MEANINGFUL ENFORCEMENT OF ALL IMMIGRATION LAW AND FULL STATE AND LOCAL SUPPORT FOR FEDERAL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT PROGRAMS. A Commonsense Approach Immigrants, BOTH LEGAL AND ILLEGAL, are part of our communities across Colorado. We must adopt a commonsense approach to this reality that reflects our values and recognizes the critical role immigration has played in our nation's history and OUR STRUGGLING economy. SO THAT THEIR LEGAL STATUS CAN BE RESOLVED IN A FAIR AND APPROPRIATE MANNER UNDER ACCEPTED STANDARDS OF LAW AND COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS, our immigration policies MUST BE BASED ON THE NEEDS OF THE NATION AND THE RULE OF LAW. THEY SHOULD BE BASED ON FAIRNESS. IT IS UNFAIR TO THE MILLIONS WHO HAVE SUFFERED THROUGH THE LEGAL PROCESS OUT OF RESPECT FOR OUR LAWS AND COME HERE THE RIGHT WAY TO REWARD THOSE WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO VIOLATE THE LAWS. COMMON SENSE TELLS US THAT REWARDING SUCH BEHAVIOR ONLY ENCOURAGES MORE OF IT. COMMON SENSE TELLS US THAT IF THE 1986 AMNESTY FAILED TO GET THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND THE FEDERAL government TO LIVE UP TO THE PROMISES MADE ABOUT HIRING PRACTICES AND BORDER ENFORCEMENT, THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THEY WILL ACT MORE RESPONSIBLY THIS TIME. COMMON SENSE TELLS US THAT MILLIONS MORE IMMIGRANTS (LEGAL OR ILLEGAL) COMING TO THIS COUNTRY WITH FEW, IF ANY, SKILLS WILL NOT IMPROVE OUR ECONOMY OR UNEMPLOYMENT PROBLEMS. COMMON SENSE TELLS US THAT IMMIGRATION WITHOUT ASSIMILATION WILL ONLY EXACERBATE THE BALKANIZATION OF OUR SOCIETY.
From our archives: "Amendment 64: Tom Tancredo on why GOP should embrace marijuana measure."