Tancredo’s parting shot on immigration debate untrue puffery

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[COMMENTARY] Shortly after Rep. Tom Tancredo ended his bid for the White House this week, he posted a video on his presidential campaign Web site that warns of the “perilous consequences of America’s willingness to live with massive uncontrolled illegal immigration.” As well, he takes credit for moving the issue to the national forefront.

Not so fast, Mr. Tancredo.Tancredo’s claims may come as a big surprise to former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wy., who spoke at length with Colorado Confidential’s Dan Whipple in March 2007 about his 1986 bipartisan legislation on border control and immigration reform here, here and here.

A quick perusal of THOMAS, the Library of Congress database of federal legislative information, finds that 2,000 bills were introduced on immigration in the five congressional sessions prior to Mr. Tancredo’s election to Congress in 1999.

Google reveals 162,600 news stories on the keyword “immigration” from 1980-1998 — again, well before Mr. Tancredo graced the halls of Congress.

While the congressman from Littleton may hold considerably different and arguably more militant views on immigration and border control than his colleagues, demagoguing rhetoric serves no one in addressing the national security, economic and human rights aspects of this critically important issue.

No sir, you did not bring the concern to the fore of the nation’s conscience. You simply appealed to the worst common denominator of primitive human instinct — fear of differences that give root to racism and intolerance — to propel yourself into the media spotlight.

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