Tancredo: 'I Don't Trust the President' on Border Security

By Kevin Mooney | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - An immigration compromise plan will not work, because President Bush cannot be trusted to "certify" America's borders are secure, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) said Thursday.

In an effort to reconcile the divergent immigration bills in the House and Senate, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) put forth a compromise plan this summer that would require the president to "certify" the successful implementation of security measures along the most porous entry points into the U.S. before a guest worker program could be implemented.

"I don't trust the president to say the borders are secure," Tancredo told an audience at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He said immigration policy should be formulated with an emphasis on law enforcement as opposed to "political pandering" for votes. Tancredo also cited a "disconnect" between "elite policy makers" and the American people.

This week, the Senate is considering House legislation that would authorize the construction of 700 miles of reinforced fencing along the most porous sections of America's southwestern border.

Additional measures passed by the House Thursday impose criminal penalties on the construction and financing of border tunnels and provide for expedited removal of criminal aliens. The legislation also "reaffirms the authority" of state and local police to enforce federal immigration laws.

Should the Senate fail to act on border enforcement legislation, Tancredo sees grassroots efforts and citizen activism on the local level as a viable alternative. He would like to see citizen support for strict local laws against illegal immigration and support for pro-enforcement officials at the local level.

Tancredo pointed to a local ordinance in Hazelton, Pa., as an example of the kind of legislation local officials could enact. The ordinance imposes fines and penalties on landlords who rent to illegal aliens and on businesses who hire them.

Similar measures have also passed in other parts of Pennsylvania and in Riverside, N.J.

Tancredo took issue with some conservative strategists - such as Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform - who feel that a push for stringent immigration policies could hurt the Republican Party politically.

"I don't buy it," Tancredo said. "By saying we should be a nation of laws, we will gain votes."

As evidence, Tancredo pointed to Proposition 200 in Arizona, which requires government employees to verify the immigration status of people applying for benefits. Tancredo noted that law was enacted with support from 47 percent of the state's Hispanics.

See Related Article:
'Elitism' Threatens Immigration Reform, Congressman Says (Sept. 20, 2006)

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