Tancredo Passing the Buck on Immigration

September 1 2005, 12:47 AM
The illegal immigration issue popped up again today in the Rocky Mountain News with word that the El Paso County sheriff is threatening to "deport" illegal immigrants himself if federal officials don't help ease their problem.
The El Paso County sheriff quickly earned federal immigration officials' attention by warning that he'd start driving undocumented immigrants from his jail to the Mexican border rather than continue to pay for their upkeep, and release some to the streets. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials last week told U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., that they will consider opening a Colorado Springs office to help process the immigrants for deportation. That's welcome news to county officials, but they say it won't do anything to ease the county's more than $1 million annual cost for housing undocumented immigrants. "It won't solve the problem, but it will speed up processing and create a push to bring a detention facility," said Jim Bensberg, chairman of the El Paso County commissioners. "The situation can't get any worse than it is."
This story, of course, allowed Rep. Tom Tancredo to sound off on his favorite -- and only -- issue.
Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., an outspoken critic of federal immigration enforcement policy, praised the sheriff's position. "If ICE continues to ignore local law enforcement's demand that it does its job, more and more responsible sheriffs will be forced to shoulder the burden of the illegal immigration crisis," Tancredo said.
It's about time that somebody called out Tancredo on the illegal immigration issue, because he's not doing anything to solve the problem besides pointing fingers. Tancredo's solution to illegal immigration is to deport all illegal immigrants, but as a congressman he knows damn well how completely unrealistic that is. He tells the News that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officials are "ignoring" local law enforcement requests. He's right...and the truth is that Tom Tancredo is the person who is causing the problem. The Colorado ICE office doesn't have thousands, or even hundreds, of officers, and even if they did they don't have anywhere to put illegal immigrants. The ICE office in Denver, for example, has a jail with only about 300 beds in it. They fly out illegal immigrants a couple of times a week for deportation, but they don't have the money or the resources to do any more than that. The office is forced to prioritize, and that means going after the most violent illegals first. Anybody who thinks that ICE officials should be rounding up undocumented workers, instead of tracking down the violent illegal immigrants, is out of their mind. Tancredo surely knows this, but he just goes on pretending like ICE has unlimited resources that they just decide not to use. Rather than work to get more federal funding for immigration enforcement he just screams, yells and points. Meanwhile, somebody else has to actually work to fix the problem:
[Senator Wayne] Allard won a commitment Friday from ICE to open an office in Colorado Springs, Colorado's second- largest city. "If, instead of releasing illegal immigrants back into the community, ICE resources were allocated to facilitate deportation, return visits would be prevented and the taxpayers of El Paso County would realize significant savings," Allard said.
Tom Tancredo talks, but Allard actually does something about it. Sure, Tancredo has tried to pass legislation in Congress to facilitate more resources, but it's usually so over-the-top that he can't get enough support to get it passed. It's about time people start holding Tancredo accountable for his rants on illegal immigration. He's the Congressman. He's the one in a position to make changes. Why isn't he the one doing anything about it?