Prominent Illegal Immigration Opponent Can’t Speak at PC

Jennifer D. Jordan, Providence Journal, April 28, 2009

Tom Tancredo, former congressman from Colorado, Republican presidential candidate and outspoken opponent of illegal immigration, is scheduled to speak in Rhode Island on Wednesday. But he will not be addressing students at Providence College as he had originally planned, after college officials rejected a request from a student group to invite him to campus.

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The student group, Youth for Western Civilization, asked PC officials if they could also host Tancredo, but the request was denied, said PC spokeswoman Pat Vieira.

“They are not an officially recognized group,” Vieira said. “They asked very late in the semester when there was not enough time for the request to go through the usual channels.”

Just as important, Vieira said, were Bishop Thomas J. Tobin’s views on immigration and how immigrants–whether here legally or illegally–should be treated, which contrast sharply with Tancredo’s.

“The Bishop of Providence . . . is a member of the college’s Board of Trustees,” Vieira said in a written statement. “If a similar request to host a speaker on this topic is made in a future semester, the college will encourage and facilitate a format that allows for multiple points of view to be expressed.”

Gorman [Terry Gorman, executive director of RIILE (Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement)] said he and other anti-illegal immigration advocates are angered by the college’s refusal to allow Tancredo to speak.

“This college allowed Senators [Ted] Kennedy and [Sheldon] Whitehouse to speak, and they are virulently pro-abortion,” Gorman said. “That goes against Church teaching, but they were invited to campus.”

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