David Yepsen, Des Moines Register, July 13, 2005
Some of the most emotional issues in American politics these days are those surrounding immigration. They’re so hot, many politicians avoid them because they’re afraid to alienate anyone.
One who doesn’t is U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican who is one of the nation’s strongest advocates for tougher actions to crack down on illegal immigration. He’s dismissed by his critics as some Colorado kook, a nativist politician whose attacks on illegals play on anti-Latino racism.
Think what you will of him, he’s onto something. The tide of illegal immigration into the U.S. seems only to be growing, the problems surrounding it are getting worse and the country is unable to do anything about it. To make matters worse, there’s a danger of terrorists slipping into the country through porous borders.
Critics of these approaches say they are impractical. Ease in crossing the borders is necessary for commerce, it’s impossible to eject the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and some businesses rely on this cheap labor to survive. Many of these illegal immigrants are doing work the native population doesn’t care to do and so they make a contribution to our economy.
Tancredo said people who believe all that “are out to lunch . . . Much of it is just baloney. It’s stuff corporations will say because they want to hire cheaper labor.”
He noted how Wal-Mart was slapped with fines and executives were threatened with jail after illegals were found working in some stores. “The public relations damage was considerable,” Tancredo said. “They have now scrubbed every store in the nation so they can show anybody who comes in that everyone working there is a legal resident — not all citizens, but legal residents of this country.
“Guess what? Not a single store has closed. Amazingly, miraculously, they have been able to hire people and keep the place open,” Tancredo said. The same thing could be done in other businesses employing undocumented workers.
He said of the 26 million people working in the service industries, 78 percent are citizens, 10 percent are legal aliens and 12 percent are not in the country legally. “It’s not the end of civilization as we know it” to force out illegals and replace them with citizens or legal immigrants.