December 03, 2006

Tom Tancredo Defends Miami Comments

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Tancredo defended his comments made earlier this week:
"We were talking about, among other things, the fact that massive immigration into the country is changing the culture. And I said, 'Look at Miami, which is just south of us here, and you'll see a third-world country.' I believe that my statement is accurate in the context I was making it," Tancredo said.

"Miami is a good example of a situation where massive immigration -- both legal and illegal -- of people who don't necessarily want to be Americans. And then they come into a city that tells them that they don't have to be (Americans) and that creates an interesting and, I think, sometimes unpleasant situation. It's also the truth that you've got an incredible amount of violence. It's the murder capital of the world," he said.

In response to people calling him racist, Tancredo said, "This issue has got nothing to do with race. Do we have a culture? Is there something we can identify as the American culture? It's not based on race, as far as I can tell, certainly. And there have been plenty of people who have come into this country over the years from a wide variety of countries and a variety of races. They have come here, they have become Americans. They have assimilated. That's all I am asking for. That's all I want to see happen."

"What I am talking about is a willingness to assimilate into an American culture. What is so ugly about that? What is so racist about that? Millions upon millions of people have done it. Being black, brown or any hue in between, they have been able to do it. Why is it now that we're finding it so difficult, where we don't ask them to? We don't want them to learn English. We teach them in a language other than English in our schools. We actually try to put up barriers to assimilation," Tancredo added.

Tancredo, chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, warned in his book, "In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America's Border and Security," that the country is on a course to the dustbin of history. Like the great and mighty empires of the past, he wrote, superpowers that once stretched from horizon to horizon, America is heading down the road to ruin.
If the United States wishes to avoid the ghettoization and conflict that Europeans have allowed to fester in their immigrant communities, it should take the issue of immigration more seriously and acknowledge the problem. And there is definitely a problem with illegal immigration and human smuggling here in Colorado.

Tancredo is not the only voice on immigration, and certainly not the only correct way of thinking about immigration, but is nevertheless a valuable contributor to this national debate.

Demonizing him with racist epithets, attempting to shut down his public appearance by denying him and others their free speech rights,
or simply ignoring the problem is not an intellectual way of dealing with Tancredo's ideas.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would not call him a racist, but I CAN call him a hypocrite. He says Cubans are the cause of Miami's 45% graduation rate in High School, and is proof that they are not assimilating. However, he give no explanation of Denver's 46% graduation rate. He has got that beam in thine own eye problem.

Mon Jan 22, 07:59:00 AM  
Anonymous piboulder said...

I would encourage the blogger and Tancredo to watch "The Lost City", a film by Andy Garcia. It came out a couple years ago. It's about events leading up to the rise of communism in Cuba. It expresses a reason why Cuban immigrants don't want to assimilate. It's because they hope that someday they can go back to Cuba when it is free (whenever that is).

I used to take the same position as Tancredo that immigrants who come here should assimilate. Seeing this story, which was based on Garcia's own life experience, I saw a plausible benign reason behind resisting assimilation. In their hearts they are still Cuban. They would love to go back, but not under the oppressive regime there.

Mon Jan 29, 05:12:00 AM  

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