Tancredo on Mass Deportation: ‘Why Not?’

On Thursday, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation to announce what he called a “new strategy for controlling illegal immigration.” This “new strategy” is in fact a political tactic for achieving his old policy goals of enforcement-only reform, deportation by “attrition,” and protection of “Anglo-Protestant values.” The “new strategy” is to embrace the localities adopting Hazleton-like anti-immigrant ordinances.

If Congress does not enact key enforcement provisions to achieve border security and immigration law enforcement, proponents of the enforcement strategy will carry to all 50 states and into thousands of local communities. Illegal aliens will begin to self-deport as more and more states adopt measures to discourage residence and employment by illegal aliens.

If the Senate rejects the enforcement-first approach by refusing to enact serious enforcement legislation this year, advocates of border security and immigration law enforcement should move to a new strategy – a strategy aimed at local initiatives in lieu of federal action. If we can’t get the federal government to do what it’s supposed to do, we have to turn to states and local communities to help us.

This new strategy will be called simply “Enforcement Works.”

Listen to the audio clip. Heritage has the full audio and streaming video of the speech.

“It’s been the White House that’s been out of step with the mainstream of the Republican Party, not Tom Tancredo,” said Tancredo, who just last week was singing “Dixie” with neo-Confederates in South Carolina. The congressman offered praise to the Minuteman Project, which he said “demonstrated to the world the flow of aliens across the border can be controlled by physical presence at the border,” and he said that immigrants from Mexico live in “cultural enclaves,” preventing their assimilation, and warned of a coming “civil war” and economic collapse in Mexico due to political strife following that country’s recent elections – and of a “larger exodus” of Mexicans to the U.S. Because of this threat, he said, “the notion of discussing any amnesty or new guest workers becomes more absurd every minute.”

But while Tancredo explicitly avowed that policymakers must completely separate the issue of border enforcement from the issue of resolving the status of immigrants in the country, he was just as clear that his intent was to deport all “illegal aliens” – first through “attrition,” by denying them housing, jobs, and any social services, and then through enforcement.

When people say to me, and they do all the time, I hear this constantly—people go up, and tell me, they go, “Hey listen, what are you going to do with all the people who are presently in the country illegally? There’s 15 to 20 million – you can’t deport them.” And then they go on. Right. And I say “Hold it! Why not?” [laughter] I mean, why not? Now, you may not want to. You may have political reasons why it’s difficult. You will see every single night on television somebody’s family being torn apart somebody, you know … all that’s true. But don’t just go – don’t make that leap and go, “Well, you can’t deport them.” Because you can. Heh-heh. It is the truth, you can. We could do that. Now we may certainly choose not to, and there are other options that are probably even easier.

Listen to the audio clip.