Catching up with Tom Tancredo

Published on October 7th, 2012

At the FAIR Advisory Board dinner last Saturday, I sat with Congressman Tom Tancredo. I had written much about Tom during his congressional career. The following day at the Social Contract Magazine-sponsored Writers Workshop, Tom addressed the audience which included several CAPS representatives to tell us some funny/sad anecdotes about his years in the House fighting the Bush administration and specifically House Speaker Tom DeLay over amnesty. Tancredo is one of our first and perhaps most valiant congressional allies when it comes to promoting sensible immigration policies and sealing the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

In 2007, his last year in the House, Tom embarked on a presidential campaign that — since the White House was well beyond his reach — even his closest friends couldn’t fully grasp. But Tom explained that he accepted once he was convinced that none of the other eleven Republican candidates — Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Fred Thompson, Tommy Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Jim Gilmore, Duncan Hunter, Alan Keyes, Sam Brownback and the eventual winner, John McCain — would say anything substantive in opposition to illegal immigration. Once he took on the challenge, Tom was determined to stay in the race until his foes (and ours) acknowledged that immigration hurts Americans in terms of overpopulation and our quality of life. One by one, the challengers grudgingly admitted that immigration represents a serious American problem and must not be ignored.

The last immigration advocate standing was the staunch, unbending pro-open borders New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. But as Tom recalled, he was in a snowy Iowa on December 20 when he turned on his television to see the evening news highlights. Giuliani had given a speech suggesting that more border enforcement is crucial for United States security. Tom took Giuliani’s speech as proof that his presence in the campaign had forced others’ hands on immigration and he withdrew. Ironically, December 20 is Tom’s birthday.

In his closing weekend remarks, Tom reminded all of us that since his early days in the House and up to and including today, the patriotic immigration reform movement is a daily battle. Individuals should take every opportunity to press our case on all fronts.

Always a man of action, Tancredo’s Rocky Mountain Foundation has sued Metropolitan State College over its Dream Act-type tuition scale. The college’s board approved a tuition rate of $3,358 per semester for alien students, a fee that is about $4,600 less than an out-of-state student would pay.

Said Tom in his press release:

“The legal opinion issued last week by Attorney General John Suthers confirms what we all know, that the action of Metro State is unlawful. Administrators and trustees at different state colleges can have honest disagreements about tuition policies but they must obey the law. Metro State must wait for the General Assembly to change the law, and if the law is not changed, they can't make new laws by themselves." [Tom Tancredo’s Foundation Will Sue Metro State over Immigrant Tuition, by Anthony Cotton, Denver Post, June 26, 2012]

In 2002, Tancredo fought one of the nation’s first battles against alien high school students unfairly demanding in-state college tuition fees when he took on the infamous Jesus Apodaca, his Mexican American Legal Defense Fund supporters and the Denver Post. I wrote about that issue here.

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