TOM TANCREDO (R-CO) SPEAKS AT CONROE, TEXAS, TOWN HALL MEETING
Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), Chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus and a nationally-recognized advocate of heightened border security and amnesty-free immigration reform, spoke today to a standing-room-only audience of approximately 150 people at a "Secure America" town hall meeting at the Lonestar Convention Center in Conroe, Texas (up I-45, north of Houston).
This blogger was in attendance and met briefly with Congressman Tancredo following his address -- an informal, but passionate address interrupted any number of times by strong applause (including a standing ovation at its conclusion) and loud vocal support for his prescriptions for remedying this nation's porous borders and thorny illegal alien problem.
Central to Tom Tancredo's remarks were the themes that "borders matter" and that patriotic, well-informed citizens must resist the "Balkinization of America" and help reverse the harmful impact of what he terms the growing "cult of multiculturalism" in this country that has so many of our school-age children thinking "America is a continent," rather than "the country in which we live" -- the best nation on the planet and one to which "we owe our allegiance, not our ethnicity." And, alluding to H.R. 4437 and the "Tancredo Wall," (which the "Wall Street Journal" and U.S. Chamber of Commerce vigorously oppose) he opined that "good fences make for good neighbors!"
The Congressman went on to say that we find ourselves today "in a clash of civilizations" -- a veritable "war to preserve Western Civilization." The United States of America is being so overrun by illegal immigrants (which conservative estimates peg at 11 - 12 million), most of whom do not speak English, resist assimilation, and steadfastly maintain their political allegiance to their homelands, that we're fast becoming a people who no longer know who we are and who our enemies are.
"I don't want to hear another language spoken in this country other than English," said Tancredo. "Language must become the common denominator of our culture." And he went on to argue strongly and with emotion in his voice: "I expect immigrants to this country to be legal immigrants; and I expect them to become Americans." On this note, he spoke of his own immigrant roots and charged that his detractors' use of epithets such as "racist" and "zenophobe" to describe him were but mean-spirited smoke screens to disarm American patriots from insisting that immigrants come to this country through legal channels and become proud, patriotic Americans.
Congressman Tancredo believes most Americans "sense something is wrong with the immigration situation" in this country and that their concerns about border security and the millions of illegals afoot in our land predated (as happens with most issues) Congressional awareness and certainly Congressional action. In other words, most Americans have their finger on the pulse and see the situation on this country's southern border for what it is. And on that subject he further engaged his audience by eschewing the fashionable political correctness that fails to see "Islamofascism" as America's true enemy. "Terrorism is not our enemy; Islamofacist terrorism is."
Tom Tancredo has been at this -- decrying the lack of border security and advocating solutions to stem the tide of illegal immigration -- for 9+ years now and admits to having been a lone voice crying in the wilderness years ago until the tragedy that was September 11, 2001, began changing Americans' views of what homeland security ought to mean. He told his audience today that he knew he had finally begun resonating with his constituency and Americans nationwide when his "special sessions" speeches, given alone, after-hours, in the House Chamber, before C-SPAN cameras, began setting his fax machine purring and his telephone extensions lighting up like a Christmas tree. People were getting it and they wanted action. They rallied to him and their effect rallied him.
Throughout his town hall address in Conroe, Congressman Tancredo provided his audience with hard facts, along with anecdotal information, to reinforce his observations and give legitimacy to his prescriptions. Among them:
- Illegal immigration has enormous implications for this country and huge costs for its taxpayers -- costs in healthcare, education, criminal justice, etc.;
- "Cheap labor" is only cheap for employers who hire illegals, as taxpayers subsidize those wages by subsidizing the social safety net of services that illegals avail themselves of;
- 27% of those incarcerated in our federal prison system are illegal aliens;
- over 3,000 murder warrants are outstanding for illegal alien suspects;
- for every illegal alien the U.S. Border patrol interdicts, 3-5 additional border-jumpers enter the United States undetected;
- there were 1, 180,000 interdictions in 2005, so as many as 5+ million illegals made it in without apprehension;
- 48,000 OTMs ("Other Than Mexicans") came to the U.S. in 2005 from "countries of interest" -- i.e., countries that recruit, train, support, and export terrorists; accordingly, as many as 240,000 OTMs from "countries of interest" entered the U.S. without being interdicted;
- 30,000 members of the notorious MS-13 gang, comprised of illegal aliens, are now in this country and the problem is so bad that the FBI has had to set up a special task force;
- 45% of today's population of illegal aliens originally entered this country legally and not across its southern border, but have over-stayed their visas;
- "Sanctuary City" laws that preclude local police authorities from challenging the citizenship of suspected illegals are "ridiculous" and thwart better "interior enforcement" of immigration law; and, sadly, lead to unnecessary violence, including homicides.
- ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is under-manned at the borders and so grossly under-staffed that interior enforcement of immigration laws is virtually impossible or so slow-acting as to be rendered useless;
- businesses must be mandated to perform Social Security checks on employees and prospective employees through a national database.
Rep. Tancredo urged members of the audience to write to "all levels of government" and insist that our borders be secured and that meaningful immigration reform not include blanket amnesty or a "Guest Worker Program" designed to be tantamount to amnesty -- what, with a wry smile, he referred to as "Amnesty-Lite."
Congressman Tancredo was joined on the speakers' dais by: Curtis Collier, co-founder and president, U.S. Border Watch; Louise Whiteford of Texans for Immigration Reform, Inc.; and, Dave Kleimann, a local businessman and candidate for the Texas Senate from District #3. There were also representatives on hand from The Minutemen, who, I should add, are presently doing surveillance of illegal alien day labor sites in the greater Houston area. There were no protesters in the meeting room or at the entrance to the Lonestar Convention Center that I could see.
NOTE TO READERS:
I became aware of this meeting via a flier left in my mailbox from the Dave Kleimann campaign. My wife and I know Mr. Kleimann and have done business with him previously. I checked the "Houston Chronicle's" print edition today and there was no mention of
today's Town Hall meeting in Conroe, TX -- not even in the "Conroe" supplement of the newspaper! Of course, the Houston Chronicle opposes much of what Congressman Tancredo stands for vis-a-vis border security and immigration reform. The Chronicle, as an example, endorses Houston's misguided "Sanctuary City" policy. I find it interesting that a town hall meeting lacking MSM publicity drew such a solid crowd today -- more people, really, than the room could comfortably accomodate. Many people stood along the walls of the meeting room; and more people were actually outside of the room in the hallway. To me this size crowd belies the leap in logic the Houston Chronicle's editorial board made earlier this week in pointing to scant attendance at "Stop The Invasion" rallies held across the country last Saturday. If the Houston Chronicle had a reporter at today's Conroe meeting, it will be interesting to see how the crowd's size is described or the meaning of such obvious interest is depicted. As an aside, I thank my wife for attending with me and taking the digital photograph of Congressman Tancredo at work.