Look Away, Tancredo

“I wish I was in the land of cotton,” sang Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado), chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, before a Confederate flag-waving audience. “Old times there are not forgotten, look away, look away, look away, Dixie land.”

Tancredo was in South Carolina to give his “standard immigration stump speech” at an event supposedly put together by the congressman’s own Americans Have Had Enough Coalition, reports the Rocky Mountain News. An invitation printed on the South Carolina League of the South web site reads:

Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) will be our guest at the Visa Room of the SC State Museum at 11:00 AM, Saturday September 9th.    Barbecue will be furnished by Maurice Bessinger’s Piggy Park.  The cost per plate will be approximately $20.00 with proceeds going to Congressman Tancredo’s 501 (c) (4) organisation, “America has had enough”.

As you are aware, Congressman Tancredo has led the fight against illegal immigration in Congress.  Join us at the State museum for two hours of vital information, fellowship, and good food.  The cost of the ticket will cover admission into the museum.

The League of the South (LOS), a self-described “Southern Nationalist organization whose ultimate goal is a free and independent Southern republic,” is listed as a racial hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The euphemism used by LOS in describing its first goal in its “Grand Strategy” as being to “revitalise our largely Anglo-Celtic culture” bears a resemblance to Tancredo’s warning that a Mexican “invasion” threatens America’s “civilization,” by which he was referring to (he said) Samuel Huntington’s ideal of “Anglo-Protestant values”  under attack from a “Hispanic challenge.”

Nevertheless, spokespeople for Tancredo and his Americans Have Had Enough Coalition denied that the South Carolina League of the South sponsored the event. As the News reports, Tancredo’s spokesman Carlos Espinosa instead “said Tancredo was aware that the audience included members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Civil War re-enactors in Southern garb. When they began singing Dixie, Tancredo joined in, Espinosa said.” (The Sons of Confederate Veterans is also connected to the hate movement, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.)

Espinosa added that “Tom thought it would be rude not to take part.”

As the Southern Poverty Law Center notes, Tancredo’s appearance is part of a five-day tour through South Carolina — a key state for the 2008 Republican presidential primary.