Tancredo outlines his amnesty-free immigration proposal
By Chris Barge,
Rocky Mountain News
July 11, 2007
U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo today called last months failed Senate immigration bill “a piece of junk” as he outlined his own, amnesty-free proposal.
Among the bills top provisions: reduce the number of legal immigrants to the United States by two-thirds, and stop giving citizenship to the U.S.-born babies of parents who are here illegally.
“I think our bill is the true comprehensive immigration reform package,” said Tancredo, a Littleton Republican who plans to introduce the measure within a week.
His plan drew immediate fire from the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. “Congressman Tancredos proposal is unjust, unrealistic and completely out of touch with the American people,” the group wrote in a statement. “It is sad and tragic that Mr. Tancredo continues to play the politics of fear and hate, rejecting the values of family unity, civil liberties and diversity that are the cornerstone of our democracy.”
Tancredos proposal comes a month after a Senate bill fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for a final vote.
That legislation, which was crafted by a coalition that included Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., would have made millions of immigrants eligible for lawful status while tightening border security and creating an employee verification system to weed out illegal workers.
After what became known as the Senates “grand bargain” fell apart, lawmakers in both parties said further action on immigration was unlikely this year. And House Democratic leaders signaled they had little appetite for taking up an issue that bitterly divides both parties and tied up the Senate for weeks.
“This wonderful bill they thought they had was a piece of junk in reality,” Tancredo said. “What we were able to do was avoid exacerbating the problem, but we were not able to solve the problem. They kept saying, Thats it. Weve tried everything we can.” And Im saying, No, you havent.”
Tancredos bill would also require employers to verify their employees Social Security numbers before hiring them. And it would bar states from granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants who graduated from a high school in that state, unless they offer the same rate to all U.S. citizens.
Tancredo has introduced several similar immigration bills in the past. While his bills have not been passed in full, many of the ideas in them have been inserted into other House measures.
His strategy each year, he said, is to “set the goal post. Thats what you do on all of these issues. You move the discussion to your side of the field.”