Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., is thrilled to see President Trump ordering National Guard personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border but says the only way to fully stop the flow of illegal immigration is to make sure potential migrants know they have no chance for a job if they come here.
Tancredo served in the House of Representatives for 10 years, where he became known as one of the strongest opponents of illegal immigration. He was a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008 and twice ran for governor of Colorado.
He says Trump is doing the right thing by calling up the National Guard.
“It’s a long time coming. I can’t tell you how glad I am to see it happen,” said Tancredo, who says the Guard can make a big difference.
“I think with National Guard, you do not have the posse comitatus issue,” said Tancredo referring to federal law that bars the military from being used as domestic law enforcement. “We use them a lot in areas of floods and fires and earthquakes and people who are causing trouble (through riots, etc.),” said Tancredo
Tancredo says the situation is urgent.
“We are being invaded, have been for a long time. The government of Mexico has participated in this for a long time,” said Tancredo.
Years ago, Tancredo saw firsthand in Arizona how the Mexican government facilitates illegal immigration into the U.S.
“I was with the Border Patrol and we were glassing the desert in Mexico. We saw two buses pull up, let the people out, who then swarmed across the line into the United States, into the desert mind you.
“Those buses were hired by the Mexican government. People on them were provided a bag of food, water, and…an explanation of what to do when you ran into a border patrolman. This was all part of a Mexican government activity and funded by them,” said Tancredo.
Tancredo says that posture from the Mexican government is directly relevant to the current border crisis.
“This idea that the Mexican government is aiding and abetting this caravan for instance is certainly not new. It is an act of a hostile, hostile neighbor,” said Tancredo.
What leverage does the U.S. have to persuade Mexico to stop exacerbating illegal immigration? Tancredo says it starts with trade. He says the length of the National Guard deployment could have trade implications.
“It probably becomes part of the bargaining that’s going on between the United States and Mexico in an around NAFTA. I wouldn’t doubt for a moment that the president is using this as another bargaining chip,” said Tancredo.
He says another effective tool could center on the money being sent back to Mexico and other Latin American nations from inside the U.S.
“The other thing you could is make it much more expensive to send money back home to Mexico. Presently, Mexican nationals in the United States send back about $25 billion a year,” said Tancredo.
When he was in Congress, Tancredo says that money wiring constituted the second largest influx of money into Mexico, second only to their national oil company.
However, Tancredo is adamant that there’s only one real way to solve the illegal immigration problem.
“You would pass a law mandating E-Verify for every business in the United States and then you have to enforce it. You’d have to make sure than if an employer that ignores E-Verify hires people even though they haven’t gone through the E-Verify process gets fined. If it happens a couple more times, maybe they spend time in the cooler. If you do that, you eliminate the draw,” said Tancredo.
But there’s a problem.
“Because it would work, you will never see it pass this Congress, at least this Congress,” he said, noting Republicans are a major part of the problem along with most Democrats.
“You’ve got Republicans who are as adamant in their opposition to actually securing our borders as any Democrat because they are what I call part of the Chamber of Commerce Republicans. They are just as much of a block to doing something significant,” said Tancredo.
Tancredo says he’s all for Trump’s wall but says that only addresses the symptoms rather than the cause of illegal immigration.