The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Tancredo Ventures Further Out on the Fringe

By Rob Waters on October 8, 2009 - 4:31 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

Tom TancredoColorado Republican Tom Tancredo was the face of the anti-immigration movement in Congress for 10 years. While he was there, he could serve up his deport-’em-all rhetoric from the House floor. And as an early contender for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, he drew supportive crowds and mainstream media coverage in early-voting states until he dropped out in late 2007 before the Iowa caucuses.

Since leaving Congress in January, though, he’s aggressively moving down the credibility chain in his quest for outlets for his nativist views.

In late September, he blasted the Southern Poverty Law Center from the hate website And this month, he made his debut as a regular columnist at the far-right conspiracy-mongering website WorldNetDaily. By Tancredo’s standards, the initial column is somewhat restrained. He praises the “patriotic reawakening provoked by Obama’s Marxist agenda.” He attacks Sen. John McCain for his support of an insufficiently conservative U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado. And he takes a shot at Karl Rove, the longtime adviser to former president George W. Bush — the same Karl Rove who got so fed up with Tancredo’s extremism that he told him to “never darken the door of the White House again.”

But even when he enjoyed relative respectability as a member of Congress, Tancredo didn’t always confine himself to respectable venues. On Sept. 9, 2006, he delivered an anti-immigrant harangue as the honored guest at a barbecue advertised by the South Carolina chapter of the League of the South, the neo-Confederate outfit long listed as a hate group by the SPLC, as its own event. Although a Tancredo spokesman later said that the event was actually organized by a group called Americans Have Had Enough!, the league described Tancredo as “our guest” and listed a prominent league member as the event’s information contact. The room for the event was rented by Richard T. Hines, who was identified in 1997 by the racist League of Conservative Citizens as a member.

  • dave varez

    First , as for your previous question –

    Illegal entry is as dangerous as speeding.

    Go check the statistics for illegals in jail for violent crimes , and tell me what you find.

    Second , the milions of illegals now was a hypothetical back when , so dont tell me to stop dealing in hypotheticals.

    I’ll worry about future problems caused by current actions NOW , before it’s too late.

    You wont “worry about hypotheticals” , AND simply blame me later for the result based on who can even imagine what , but you’ll find something.

    As far as what I am doing to make legal immigration, at least from Mexico, easier, so that people won’t have to brave the desert and cross illegally , the answer is –

    Nothing. No my yob , Mon.

    Diff in perspective – You assume we OWE immigrants entry –

    I assume it is a choice on our part and not a right.

    “Seems to me that if you are pro-immigrant, and only against the idea of crossing the border illegally, the easiest, most efficient way to solve that problem is by advocating an easier method of immigration for people from Latin America. Are you doing that?”

    Once again – NO . Dont forget people all over the world want to come here. Latin America is just one facet of them.

    You want special rules for them?

    Realistically , now that I’ve made my point that immigration decisions is an internal choice , and not an external right , of course it makes sense to devise ways to expedite desirable applicants from everywhere , as well as back and forth legal border crosing for vetted Mexican workers .

    But the bottom line remains – and I sense the philosophical difference here –

    We decide who comes here , and when – not the other way around.

    That is not hate and it is not discrimination – it is sovereignty.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Stop arguing with hypotheticals. The fact is that you are pretending to be extremely upset, supposedly only because the “law” is being broken. Fine. Two questions:

    1. Should other laws, such as the speed limit, be just as rigidly enforced?

    2. What are you doing to make legal immigration, at least from Mexico, easier, so that people won’t have to brave the desert and cross illegally?

    Seems to me that if you are pro-immigrant, and only against the idea of crossing the border illegally, the easiest, most efficient way to solve that problem is by advocating an easier method of immigration for people from Latin America. Are you doing that?

    Also, I noticed you didn’t answer my previous question.

  • dave varez

    Ruslan Amirkhanov said,

    “What part of “over the speed limit” do you conservatives not understand. Would you like the police to crack down on ALL lawbreakers just as hard as you want them to on illegal immigration- which apparenlty is at best a misdemeanor? Why stop there- why not jaywalking too?”

    What if 50 million people entered the country illegally? Would that be ok with you too?

    How about 100million?

    Once again , what about the people waiting for years to enter legally? Why bother if sneaking in is immediate and acceptable?

    Because the laws are not felonies and we dont put you up against a wall and shoot you as a deterrent is because we are the country that we are , and not an excuse to enter illegally because our benevolence mitigates retribution.

    Once again – this discussion DOES NOT BELONG ON A SITE CALLED HATEWATCH.

    It is not hate to be against ILLEGAL immigration.

    I am FOR immigration of all people – LEGALLY.

    We need immigration and it is what has made our country great.

    BUT – We get to choose who enters the country , how many , and when – and not the other way around.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Hey James, take a guess at this question:

    Breaking which of the following laws kills more Americans every year?

    A. Entering the US illegally.
    B. Breaking the speed limit.

  • patrikios

    He isn’t Southern but maybe he wishes he was. It is odd that Tancredo seems more eager to celebrate the Confederacy than to honor his own Italian heritage.

  • James

    To donkey hotey (phonetic spelling) and other lefties: You say that rather than attack the poor unregistered immigrants, we should go after the evil white rich guys offering them the incentive to cross borders against current law.

    News Flash!!! I know, I know… you have studiously ignored the part of the “nativist” movement that wants to go after and fine the employers. There has even been legislation to that effect that has been gutted by the left. Instead you have focused on the most strident of the “deport’em all, let god sort them out” patriots on the right.

    Guess what?!?! We are NOT anti-immigrant… we are anti-ILLEGAL immigrant. This is a simple fact that you choose to ignore. None of this would be happening if they came here LEGALLY as millions of LEGAL IMMIGRANTS have done. Amnesty is not a realistic solution. An amnesty simply encourages more law breaking until you either have to surrender to the flood and dissolve borders, or you have to resolve yourself to get tough… tough on those who encourage illegal immigration: [a]foreign governments that provide assistance to breaking our laws, [b]organizations and individuals that conspire to aide and abet illegal immigration here, and [c]employers that recruit and employ illegals. Organizations like SLPC generally fall into category [b].

    Finally, the law affecting illegals:
    United States Code, Title 8, Chapter 12, Subchapter II, Part VIII, Section 1325, states: “Any alien who enters the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers shall be fined or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.”

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    What part of “over the speed limit” do you conservatives not understand. Would you like the police to crack down on ALL lawbreakers just as hard as you want them to on illegal immigration- which apparenlty is at best a misdemeanor? Why stop there- why not jaywalking too?

  • Danny

    Tom Tancredo’s Italian-American, not Southern.

    What a joke.

  • dave varez

    I’m sorry , but I am conservative and against illegal immigration and , to whatever degree practical , acting on illegals.

    I dont view this as an issue to be included in “Hatewatch” –

    I dont hate anyone , and am pro immigration as good for the country.

    But what is not understood about the word ILLEGAL?

    Why should one guy sneak in and be accepted , and another go through the legal process and wait?

  • Observer

    Peter, yesterday I drove by one of the many agricultural fields in my area. They were planting winter crops (so. cal.) and laying the white greenhouse plastic down. All I saw were brown faces and hands doing this work. Do you want a job working stooped over all day and carrying heavy loads, and get paid $3 an hour with absolutely NO BENEFITS? Come on over.

  • Peter

    It’s supply and demand you. The more labor you have, the lower wages you have. Lies like “immigrants do jobs Americans won’t” rhetoric needs to go as well. SPLC is like the Bush administration; they think if they tell a lie enough times it will become the truth.

  • Observer

    I agree with dona and don. I often wonder why some people with adgenda of hate subscribe to SPLC. I guess they just can’t help being hateful, and want to shove their ugly ideas at people who they know will not agree.
    Tancredo has already been discredited by both ends of the political spectrum. Note his hate of Carl Rove, for peet’s sake!
    He’s just another buffoon who’s trying to find acceptance and therefore some way to make money in a world that’s already rejected him. He deserves to be ignored.

  • Don Quixote

    Thank you dona. Your post is virtually poetic.

  • Don Quixote

    Good point Ruslan, but actually, a first time violation is a civil code violation; it has NOT been criminalized. Remember the marches in 2006? Those were to stop a bill in Congress designed to criminalize undocumented immigration. The bill failed.

    Again folks, “illegal” immigration isn’t actually illegal, at least as a first offense. This is why using the word as a noun to dehumanize them is not only mean-spirited and immoral, but technically and legally innacurate. Unauthorized immigration is not in the criminal code which is why they use separate immigration (civil) courts with their own judges and have separate detention centers that are not a part of the criminal prison system.

    I’ve offered a deal to the nativist extremists and not one has taken me up on it: As soon as they start calling the mostly white, citizen, English-speaking people who hire them “illegals”, I’ll call unauthorized immigrants “illegals”. The nativists won’t do it because it takes cahones to face the people with power and money. It’s much easier (and funner) to target the poor, the helpless and the brown.

    By the way, I believe hiring them is a criminal offense, if not a felony. So why aren’t executives who run factories that hire unauthorized immigrants called “illegal employers,” or simply “illegals”?

  • Marisa

    Tancredo needs to find something constructive to do just once in his life. He has made a fool of himself more than once, and obviously, by joining up with extremist groups, he’ll make a bitter fool of himself. He has no credibility whatsoever.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Let’s go over this again people- illegally crossing the US border or staying illegally is a federal MISDEMEANOR. That is it is considered less of a crime than say, mail fraud. It has been that way for a long time. That being said, do we really need to be cracking down so hard on people whose only crime happens to be a misdemeanor? Would anyone here like to be punished more strongly for, say, speeding? Nearly every American routinely breaks the speed limit on a daily basis, when cameras are not about. Why should people who commit one misdemeanor one time become the target of a massive law enforcement campaign?

  • An Helena

    I agree Don Quixote! Laws have changed over time but no doubt at times the people in power used laws but really made perversions of law. Read natural law.

    Mark get off the Meth Redneck!

  • dona

    I am thankful for the laborers that harvests my food while working long hours for little pay and sometimes far from their families.
    I am thankful for the laborers that toil daily over hot stoves, steamy dishwashers, and long hours on their feet in our restaurants.
    I am thankful for the laborers that sweat on my hot roof in the summers in Arizona, keep our desert landscape pristine and our homes clean. I am thankful to all of them, no matter what their status. I honor labor no matter who is performing the task. The US got rid of its unions which rid us of a well trained labor which cut its wages, rights, benefits and pride. Now they are complaining about immigrant labor, too damn bad, you cant have it both ways! Learn how to stand by all workers and there you will have more power!! Thank you to all workers everywhere, around the whole world! We are all in the same stinkin boat!

  • Dave

    The saddest thing about Tancredo leaving Washington is that we are now stuck with him here in Colorado.

    But, I would advise Ruslan Amirkhanov that one doesn’t have to resort to ugly, discredited Marxist rhetoric to attack Tom the Terrible. Simple words, such as racist, stupid, and mean-spirited will work more effectively. Dragging hoary old socialist trash words into the fray will only serve to encourage the idiot’s paranoid supporters. Additionally, there are alternatives to Tancretinism that are far superior to Marxism, such as common decency, compassion, and progressive Christianity, among others.

  • Carol Barrick

    It is Congress that needs to pass realistic comprehensive immigration reform. We need up-to-date laws that create a line for immigrant workers and their families to get into in order to come here to work. That should take care of any illegal problem for good workers. I know that studies done by all three of our state of Iowa universities show that immigrants have helped Iowa’s economy millions of dollars worth. We want to protect our immigrants and create more just laws.

  • Mark

    Tom is the Man!

  • Don Quixote

    The law has been used as justification for the most horrible things done by groups with political power to those with no power. During the slavery era, it was illegal for a slave to escape or for anyone to harbor someone else’s slave. It was legal to claim land belonging to previously Mexican families. It was legal to exclude Blacks from sitting in front of a bus. And the list goes on…

    Laws have to be moral and respectable to be respected. To blindly enforce immoral, dysfunctional and obsolete laws is a fool’s errand and invariably leads to social and economic ills. Rarely do I hear those that want our broken immigration laws enforced take their ire out on the employers.

    This is why people like Tancredo come off as extremist, racist and xenophobic. It’s the misplaced anger and scapegoating of the wrong people, who happen to be brown and speak another language, that makes the Tancredos suspect. It’s the lack of acknowledgement that we need more than blind enforcement as a holistic solution, in the face of clear evidence that enforcement-only can/will never work.

  • Chris

    Leave it to a bunch of anti-American Marxists to label Tancredo an “extremist”. I guess an extremist these days is anyone who wants our laws enforced.

  • Don Quixote

    He’s just trying to out-Tancredo himself.

  • BJ

    Extremism is wrong no matter how you look at it; but so is illegal immigration.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Harlem, immigrants don’t keep wages low, the capitalists who pay the wages keep them low. Remember, they are not “your jobs”, the jobs belong to those that own the means of production. Now, if only the natives and the Mexican immigrants started working together to organize against the owners of those means- then their back would be against the wall.

  • harlem

    Tancredo is a reactionary: he reacts when 25 million illegal aliens break across the border and keep wages low for citizens..

  • Snorlax

    Tancretin goes off the deep end.

    Half the GOP is following him too.