SubscribeAvailable Now

Tancredo and the Republican Debate


Did you watch the Republican debate in New Hampshire last night? Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo was one of the participants. I thought his demeanor was very good. He seemed more at home with himself than many of the participants, some of whom seemed jumpy to me.

But, on to the content of Mr. Tancredo’s remarks. (The full transcript is here.) He reiterated his dire prediction that the United States will not survive if the immigration reform bill is passed and the undocumented among us are allowed to stay.


REP. TANCREDO: They are incredible and they are disastrous. And that is xactly why I have said what I’ve said, and that is why I have consistently tried to impress upon the American public the seriousness of this issue. We’re not just talking about the number of jobs that we may be losing, or the number of kids that are in our schools and impacting our school system, or the number of people that are abusing our hospital system and taking advantage of the welfare system in this country — we’re not just talking about that. We’re talking about something that goes to the very heart of this nation — whether or not we will actually survive as a nation. And here’s what I mean by that.

What we’re doing here in this immigration battle is testing our willingness to actually hold together as a nation or split apart into a lot of Balkanized pieces. We are testing our willingness to actually hold on to something called the English language, something that is the glue that is supposed to hold us together as a nation. We are becoming a bilingual nation, and that is not good.

Rep. Tancredo also wants to limit legal immigration:

If you come here as an immigrant, great. Welcome. If you come here legally, welcome. It means you cut your ties with the past, familial — especially political ties with the country from which you came.

But let’s be serious about this, you guys. We talk about all the immigration reform we want, and what it’s got to get down to is this: Are we ready for a timeout? Are we actually ready to say, “Enough is enough”? We have to stop all legal immigration except for the — for people coming into this country as family members, immediate family members, and/or refugees. Are we willing to actually say that and say enough — is it — we have got to actually begin the process of assimilating people who have come in this great wave of immigration. The process of assimilation is not going on.


There was scattering applause for his comments. But much more applause for John McCain’s response to him.

BLITZER: When you hear what Congressman Tancredo says, what goes through your mind?

SEN. MCCAIN: It’s beyond my realm of thinking. Look, America is the land of opportunity. The question was just asked, “What is it to be an American?” It’s to share a common goal that all of us — a principle — are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.

That means we go as far as our ambition will take us. That means we have a better life for ourselves and our children. And the lady that holds her lamp beside the golden door is still the ideal and the dream. Of course it has to be legal. Of course it has to be regulated. And 18 months, by the way, will go by while we fix the border before we do anything else on this issue. But America is still the land of opportunity and it is a beacon of hope and liberty, and as Ronald Reagan said, a shining city on a hill. And we’re not going to erect barriers and fences.

5280 Longreads

Newsletter Signup

Keep me up to date on the latest trends and happenings around Denver. 5280 has a newsletter for everyone. Sign Up