Tom Tancredo continues his free-speech tour at Providence College

Since leaving Congress earlier this year, past Westword profile subject Tom Tancredo has been taking his immigration-reform crusade to locations around the country -- and as documented in Alan Prendergast's April 15 blog "Obnoxious North Carolina Students Leave Tom Tancredo Speechless," he hasn't always been greeted with kind words and open arms. The video above shows him at a Rhode Island VFW, where protesters greeted him with chants of "Tom Tancredo, go away! Racist, sexist, anti-gay!"

Things were calmer at Rhode Island's Providence College. Tancredo wasn't allowed to speak on the institution's grounds, so he delivered his spiel from a public sidewalk. A video after the jump shows him yapping about how he's not a racist as protesters stand silently, with their backs turned toward him -- a gesture for which he actually voices appreciation. On view beneath the video is the press release sent out by Tancredo's current organization, Team America PAC, whose name pays likely unintentional tribute to the movie by two other onetime Coloradans, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Free speech lives -- sort of.

Team America PAC press release:

TOM TANCREDO BANNED FROM PROVIDENCE COLLEGE School Says Former Congressman's Views "Directly Contrast" Catholic Church...Tancredo to Speak Outside Gates

Providence, RI -- April 29, 2009 -- Congressman Tom Tancredo will be making an appearance at Providence College today at 4:30 PM, vigilant in his goal of visiting campuses and discussing topics such as immigration and cultural assimilation. He has been invited to the school by the new conservative group called Youth for Western Civilization that was founded in late 2008.

The administration initially barred Tancredo because YWC was not yet recognized, however, when a recognized group offered to host Tancredo, they claimed his views "directly constrast" the Bishop of Providence Thomas J. Tobin. Bishop Tobin agreed with the school's position, stating he "supports a robust debate of the immigration issue, but hopes that the debate will be productive and respectful, while avoiding inflammatory rhetoric that unfairly stereotypes groups of people and further divides our nation."

This is in spite of the fact that in the past Providence College, a devoutly Catholic institution, has allowed virulently pro-choice speakers on campus such as Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, and this past fall the most pro choice member of the US Senate, Senator Shelden Whitehouse of Rhode Island was allowed to speak on campus.

"The hypocrisy is overwhelming" says Tancredo. "I think the school is more concerned with the God of Political Correctness than the Church's teaching."

Tancredo plans on speaking specifically about the issue of cultural assimilation and for effectively dealing with the problem that illegal immigration poses to the United States of America.

This is on the heels of a violent protest by radical leftist protestors at the University of North Carolina where Tancredo was assaulted and forced to exit the campus for his own safety. Arrests have been made and the school has officially apologized to Tancredo for the breach of free speech that occurred.

According to Tancredo:

"I respect Providence's status as a private religious institution, but I hoped they would be more tolerant of conservative views on immigration than the radical left wing protesters at UNC."

After the address to YWC off the campus near the front gates, Tancredo will give another speech to Youth for Western Civilization and Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement at the Euart VFW Post in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Former Presidential Candidate and Congressman Tom Tancredo represented Colorado's Sixth Congressional District for ten years before stepping down in 2008. He founded and chaired the 100+ member bipartisan Immigration Reform Caucus. He currently serves as chairman of Team America PAC, president of the Rocky Mount Foundation and honorary chairman of Youth for Western Civilization. Tancredo's national political reputation has risen and his name is being mentioned as a possible candidate in the 2010 election races in Colorado.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts