While an inside-the-fold story in La Prensa Gráfica yesterday said that the U.S. would respect the election results (citing unnamed Embassy officials), El Diario de Hoy's front page headline today screams out: "Congress threatens remittances: President of the congressional migration committee links the Frente to terrorists, wants to control [money] transfers." Okay, we all know the FMLN adores Castro and Chavez, although no one seriously believes that that means El Salvador will become the next outpost for Al Quaeda were the FMLN to win the presidency. (I realize that we have come to expect no less from El Diario de Hoy, and those of us who wake up every morning with this rag have grown accustomed to its political hysterics, but allow me this rant.)
But, wait a minute, there's a "Migration Committee" in the U.S. Congress? Actually, it's called the Immigration Reform Caucus--which has no legislative authority--a group mostly made up of Republicans and headed by Rep. Thomas Tancredo, a third-term Republican congressman from Colorado, who was interviewed for this major news story. As far as I can tell, they haven't actually succeeded in passing any legislation, or at least do not claim credit for such on their website. But according to one immigrant rights activist, “the caucus seeks to eventually make Republicans who are moderate on immigration as rare as those who are moderate on guns, taxes and abortion.”
More importantly, either out of ignorance or willful intent, the EDH story erroneously notes that "the committee (sic) he presides approves or rejects any migration law before it is presented to the full House." Wrong. A caucus is just a group of people who get together to promote a particular issue or cause, known officially as a congressional member organization.
In other words, a congressional caucus is a club.
If you go to the House of Representatives website you can't even find a direct link to any of the dozens of caucuses that exist, because they have no statutory authority. If you use the website search engine, however, you'll find over 130 caucuses. Did you know, for example, that there's also a caucus for airport noise, bikes, cement, correctional officers, horses, scouting, soccer, wine, machine tools, reading, wind hazard reduction--and then there are separate caucuses for the friends of Denmark, friends of Norway and friends of Spain.
Okay, so they got a few inconvenient facts wrong. But then who is this guy Tancredo, anyway? A google search pulled up some interesting details. First of all, it appears that Tancredo is the poster boy for the most extreme wing of the anti-immigration crowd. In leading the opposition to President Bush's January immigration reform proposal, he is frequently eulogized by enlightened people who run websites like deportaliens.com (who also think he should be President of the United States).
And according to Pat Buchanan's The American Conservative magazine, "as a freshman in the U.S. House of Representatives, to which he was elected in 1999, he signed on as a sponsor to the Mass Immigration Reduction Act, a measure that would have cut annual legal immigration totals in half." In addition, the magazine reports:
"Throughout his career in Colorado, which included service in the state legislature, he has never run from controversy. He gained early attention as a member of what was called the “House crazies,” a group of Republicans who endorsed what were called “radical” ideas. … every year, for a number of years, he sponsored legislation designed to cut off funding for bilingual education."
But let's allow him to define his own views, as he does in this editorial taken from his own website:
"Now consider the fact that massive immigration, combined with our own self-destructive policies of radical multiculturalism, have helped to balkanize America to the point where upwards of eight million people living here are so undecided about their loyalties that they claim dual citizenships. Of course, many millions more simply live here, but fail to relinquish their previous political attachments.
The solution: We must immediately gain control of our borders. This can be done with the use of technology ranging from unmanned aerial vehicles and electronic sensors to cameras and radar. This must be backed-up with human resources—including military support. I have said time and time again that the defense of the nation begins with the defense of the borders."
This is the great expert on national security and steadfast friend of Salvadorans living in the U.S.?
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