Tancredo’s and Coffman’s evolving immigration stances deserve media scrutiny

Former Rep. Tom Tancredo and Rep. Mike Coffman have a tight political history, each endorsing the other at various points along the way. (Tancredo endorses Coffman here and vice versa here.)

They also share a history of hard-line stances against illegal immigration.

So I wondered how Tancredo felt about Coffman’s recent announcement that Coffman favors giving “legal status” to millions of undocumented immigrants, granting them permission to work here without granting them the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

I hadn’t seen Tancredo interviewed on the topic, so I called him up to fill in the media gap.

“It’s a distinction without a difference,” Tancredo told me, regarding the difference between “legal status” without citizenship and actual citizenship. “Five years, ten years from now, you think we can stop 11 or 12 million people from being citizens, no no.

“It’s kind of like the civil union issue. If they could only get civil unions through, then that would be it. But of course the day civil unions passed, they announced that was not it. It needs to be marriage.”

Coffman’s 6th Congressional District, which Tancredo represented from 1999 to 2009, was substantially changed after the 2010 census, making it one of the most competitive congressional seats in the country.

As a result, multiple journalists have essentially put Coffman on the Endangered Congressmen List, and Coffman has responded, they say, by singing a different tune on immigration and other issues, even if the overarching song remains the same.

“I don’t know if the new district is the reason for [Coffman’s] moves on immigration.” said Tancredo, “but if it is, it’s a mistake. If I had a chance to pounce on [Coffman], which I do not, I would tell him it’s not going to help.”

“We’ve seen that trying to woo the Latino is a losing proposition,” said Tancredo. “Latinos vote for Democrats because they want big government. It has nothing to do with immigration.”

“He’s going to have a tough race,” said Tancredo. “Romanoff is a good candidate. Mike has shown himself to be a good candidate. It will not be a presidential year, so the possibility of having a lower turnout will certainly help Mike.

“I want to see him re-elected, and that’s why I am concerned that he thinks he can mollify the Hispanic community due to his moves on immigration. It won’t help.”

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