Tancredo Ad: Illegal Aliens Are Terrorists
Tom Tancredo has managed to get on the national radar screen, if briefly, by launching a bizarre ad campaign suggesting that illegal aliens are terrorists.
Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo on Monday unveiled a television ad depicting a hooded terrorist detonating a bomb inside a shopping mall, a message the Colorado congressman said he hoped would vault illegal immigration to its rightful place at the center of the campaign.
Critics accused Tancredo of fear-mongering.
The 30-second spot, which began airing on cable television in Iowa, casts Tancredo as the only candidate brave enough to buck political convention and discuss the true threat of immigration — terrorists crossing into the U.S. It ends with the image of a backpack abandoned in a crowded mall, a black screen and the sound of a loud explosion. An on-screen message declares: “Tancredo . . . before it’s too late.”
Here’s the ad:
Immigration lawprof Kevin Johnson thinks the ad will have the opposite of its intended effect:
In my view, this is another unfortunate linkage of immigration and immigration reform with terrorism. Since September 11, security concerns have dominated all discussions of immigration reform, with the result being the failure to pass any immigration reform.
Steve Benen sees a kernel of truth hidden in this demagoguery:
Right now, he’s a third-tier afterthought, perceived as a xenophobic nut. But with this ad on the air, people will know he’s a xenophobic nut, and everyone will be talking about how painfully insane a xenophobic nut he really is.
All of us want to keep terrorists from coming into the country. Most of us want to control the flow of immigrant labor coming into the country as well, differing mostly at the margins of public policy.
But no serious student of either sees substantial linkage between the issues. Terrorists are coming in on student visas or other legal means. Or they’re already here. They aren’t wading across the Rio Grande in the middle of the night.