Posted: December 6, 2007 5:22 PM
Tancredo's new Ad Suggests Tough Consequences of Immigration
Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., released a new TV advertisement in Iowa on Tuesday. The 20-second spot, entitled “Consequences,” attempts to draw a connection between unsecure borders and an increase in violent gang-related crime in the United States and may prove to be as controversial as the one he released last month.
After an introduction by the candidate, the new ad plays more like a video slideshow than a commercial, first flashing images of the bloody, dead bodies of people allegedly killed by a Honduran gang, then photos of young, tattooed men with the caption “Violent Central American gangs now on U.S. soil.” A voiceover narrates throughout, painting a picture of the alleged “consequences” of gang violence in America: “Mothers killed. Children executed. The tactics of vicious Central American gangs, now on U.S. soil. Pushing drugs. Raping kids. Destroying lives.” It goes on to recommend deporting “those who don’t belong.”
Tancredo defended the ad at a press conference in Des Moines on Tuesday. He likened gang violence to terrorism, which was the subject of his previous ad. “It’s terrorism of another sort,” Tancredo told the Des Moines Register. “They terrorize our cities. They terrorize our families.”
The ad is already drawing criticism from some bloggers as well as lawmakers. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., told The Hill that he is discouraged by such “rhetoric,” but that “[Tancredo] is being rewarded with single-digit numbers, so I think that speaks well for the country.”
And Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., told a crowd at the New Democratic Network immigration forum on Wednesday that he doesn’t plan on watching Tancredo’s new commercial at all, The Austin American-Statesman reported. Menendez said that Republicans may risk losing in 2008 because they are “willing to use Hispanics as political scapegoats,” according to The Statesman.
Tancredo also announced this week he will not participate in this weekend’s Spanish-language debate in Miami hosted by Univision, the Washington Times reported.
The congressman criticized his fellow Republican candidates, all of whom will take part in the debate. “What all my colleagues — what the other candidates are doing — it’s encouraging violation of the law because it’s saying, ‘Don’t worry about the fact that you have to know English to earn citizenship,’” Tancredo told the Times.
In an op-ed in the Miami Herald on Thursday, Tancredo said he did not want to pander to any specific demographic group, but rather Americans as a whole. “Any political debate is aimed at citizens. It is about issues of concern to the entire community, not a segment of the community,” he wrote. “It is vital that all political debates and discussions take place in the public square, not in separate enclaves. Our democracy does not need different messages broadcast to different audiences in different languages that are not heard or understood by other groups.”
Tancredo will continue campaigning in New Hampshire for the rest of this week.