Nativism Watch

Tom Tancredo: ‘If you come here, I want you to speak English’

Imagine 2050 Staff • May 12, 2014

Former congressman and candidate for Colorado governor Tom Tancredo has once again reiterated and endorsed the extremist, anti-immigrant positions that made him well known in nativist circles during his time in Washington.

“I want to feel comfortable again in my own state,” Tancredo said as he addressed the Royal Gorge Tea Party on May 8.

“I don’t want to look at this place as I do now. It’s like a strange environment…it’s not the state I grew up in.”

Tancredo later expressed his disdain for bilingualism, claiming, “…And if you want to keep your own language, stay where you are — if you come here, I want to you to speak English.”

Tancredo boasts a rich history of anti-immigrant zealotry. As founder of the House Immigration Reform Caucus (IRC), Tancredo led the most stridently anti-immigrant coalition in Congress from 1999 to 2007. After leaving to pursue to an ill-fated presidential campaign in 2008, Tancredo continued promoting the anti-immigrant policies he passionately supported while in Congress. During this time, Tancredo regularly participated in events organized by the white nationalist student group Youth for Western Civilization (YWC) and was credited as the group’s honorary chairman. Also at this time, previously self-identified YWC co-founder Marcus Epstein – who was arrested in 2007 for shouting racial slurs and striking an elderly black woman with a “karate chop” – worked for Tancredo as a speechwriter and event organizer. Of course, Tancredo is also the man who once described Miami as a “third world country.”

Tancredo’s remarks last week only reaffirm his anti-immigrant platform. Despite attempts to distance himself from past bigotry with disingenuous efforts to court Colorado’s Latino voters, Tancredo continues to prove that a vote for him is a vote for nativism.

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