Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO)
Republican Party of Iowa
Abraham Lincoln Unity Dinner
Des Moines, Iowa
April 14, 2007
Thank you very much.  Thank you all, everyone for being here.  Actually Tom Tancredo could not be here tonight; I'm Steve King [laughter] taking his place.  Steve and I are often told how much we look alike and it's great because he's also a great ally in the cause with which I am very much involved, and I have loved every single minute that we've served together in the Congress.

Now the other night one of these late night pundits, Conan O'Brien, he announced that Hillary Clinton had raised $36 million, that Barack Obama had raised $25 million and that Tom Tancredo had raised two children.  [laughter].  Well it is true.  [applause].  My wife and I have raised two boys, of which by the way we are very proud and we are very proud of them.  They are now raising five of their grandchildren, they and their wives--five of their children, our grandchildren, and you know things just can't get any better than that.  I know that you know what I mean if you are a grandparent.  But you know what Conan was implying that night is that it's far more important to have raised money than children or anything else for that matter if you're running for president of the United States.  Well I don't believe it.  I won't believe it.  Because if that's true then corporate America has won and the good people of this great nation have lost.

Americans across this country are paying a high price for a government unwilling to do its job and a Congress too gutless to make it.  There are nearly 20 million illegal aliens living in this country today.  That's around six times the population of this great state of Iowa.  They are overcrowding our schools, our prisons and driving our hospitals out of business.  These are serious problems.  But even more distressing is the attack on our culture.  We are balkanizing America.  We are destroying the concept of citizenship itself.  America and indeed Western civilization is in a crisis.  We are the last best hope of that civilization, and that hope is being sold to the highest bidder in Washington.

People everywhere ask me what can they do.  Every time I get done with a speech somebody comes up and says what can I do now?  You've gotten me all riled up about this issue; what can I do?  And I always say well everything, everything that you can do.  If it's, you know, the people you influence around the water cooler, if it's the people you influence when you write a letter to the editor or if you run for city council or anything.  Whatever you can do is what you have to do.

Well when I asked myself that question, that same question, what can I do?  The answer to me is I will run for president of the United States.

Friends, we [applause] have good men in this race.  Thank you.  We have many good men in this race.  Many have even recently converted to our cause.  [laughter].  They are welcome of course.  But my concern is that their conversions have occurred not on the road to Damascus, but on the road here to Des Moines.  [laughter, applause].  They have spent a a lifetime on the other side, while their policies and actions have encouraged more illegals to cross our borders, where they have taken our jobs, burdened our communities, threatened our security and trampled our laws.

These candidates now want us to believe that they have seen the light.  But I think that they lack the political will and the courage to solve the crisis.  If you doubt me, ask them one question, just one question.  As president, what will you do about the 20 million or so illegal aliens living here in the country today?  Now their answer is always couched in a way that makes you not think they're really talking about amnesty, but I assure you their answer is amnesty.  It's always amnesty.

Now they, I say they look for other ways around it.  They talk about fines that we would impose.  They talk about making somebody go back and touch their foot over the border and then come back, and that's going to be some sort of penalty that they've paid for breaking into our country.  This is an outrageous public policy that will only encourage more illegal entry, and it's a slap in the face to every single person who has done it the right way or who is looking to do it the right way, waiting out there yet to come into this country the right way.  Why should they do it?  Why should they wait?  Why should they go through all of the brain damage, to work through the materials, to spend all the money to get here the right way if all they have to do is sneak into the country and eventually we're going to give them all of the benefits that we've given the people who have done it as I say the right way.  It's a silly thing.  It's a slap in their face and it's lousy public policy.  [applause].

There is an answer to this question.  Now I must admit to you that the solution I bring to you I know is very controversial; it's very scary when I say it.  People get--they cringe, and oh my goodness he can't really mean this.  This can't really be the answer.  But I assure you it is.  Summed up in three words: enforce the law.  [applause].

If we enforce the law on our borders, if we secure our borders and we can, believe me we can, we simply choose not to, but if we enforce the border and if we go after employers who are in fact creating the magnet that pulls these people into this country, if we do those two things simultaneously, I assure you that what we will see.  We do not have to round people up, put them--  You know I always hear this.  What do you want to do, round people up, put 'em on trucks and bus--No, no.  We do not have to do this.  If you enforce the law, people who are here illegally go home.  They go home because the thing for which they have come--the job--is no longer available.  If they cannot get social service benefits, they go home by the millions, and if they don't you must deport them because that is the law.  [applause].

I'm afraid, I'm afraid that the great American melting pot is broken.  We no longer see immigrants or at least enough of them with a desire to assimilate nor are we a country that requires it.  We refuse to make our immigrants learn English.  We will teach them in a separate language.  We encourage them to keep a separate language.  We encourage them even to keep allegiances to the country of origin without giving their loyalty to this country.  Instead I think these people are looked on really as cheap workers for big business and it's creating the greatest welfare program in American history.

And by the way there is some irony here when we are told that we need these workers to support an aging society, yet over the past three decades we have allowed over 40 million Americans to die in abortion clinics.  Why have we turned our hearts on our own innocent babies and embraced the culture of death.  We no longer even talk about the tragedy of abortion or its consequences on our mothers, our culture, or our land.  Instead, of course, we are replacing, we are seeking to replace the missing with an imported servant class.

Without border security, without immigration enforcement, without either the cultural confidence or political will to demand assimilation from new Americans, all we are left with is what Theodore Roosevelt called a polyglot boarding house.  Because too many Democrats want more Democrat voters and to many Republicans want big business campaign contributions, the federal government has cynically abdicated its most basic constitutional responsibility, the protection of our people and the defense of our land.  [applause].

As president I promise you I will secure the borders, I will enforce the laws, I will fight to make English the official language of this country, and I will never grant amnesty to illegal aliens.  [applause].

And let me not stop there.  There are two people now serving in prison.  They are border patrol agents.  They were doing their job and they're now serving 11 and 12 years respectively in prison for doing their job.  Their names are Mr. Ramos and Mr. Compean.  I pray to God that they are not there two years from now when I take the oath of office, but I guarantee you if they still are one of the first acts I will do is to pardon both of these people, because it's a tragedy that they are in prison.  [applause].

I will guarantee you that I will prosecute the law.  There is a federal law on the books against sanctuary cities; we have just chosen not to prosecute it.  I will prosecute the law against sanctuary cities.  I will guarantee that illegal workers will never receive Social Security checks.  And I will kill in its infancy this idea of a North American union.  [applause].

And by the way, by the way unless the United Nations stops becoming simply a debating society for anti-American rhetoric, I'm going to show them the door.  [applause].

I will appoint pro-life strict constructionists to the courts and I will apologize for none of the above, and certainly I will never apologize for being an American and for pushing the ideas and ideals of America, those based on Judeo-Christian principles.

We should never, ever apologize for that.  That's exactly what has made us great.  And we should tell the rest of the world that this is exactly what would make them great.  To live on these principles--I don't mean conversion, I just mean to say that there are principles that we have established here through our Constitution that have worked so well that when you open the gates everywhere in the world people want to flow one way.  What does that tell you?  Why should we ever apologize for this?  We should be proud of it and we should tell our children about it and make them proud of it also.  [applause].

Ladies and gentlemen, we are a nation at war.  It's not a war we started, nor is it a war against terrorism.  I assure you terrorism is not the thing with which we are at war.  We are at war with radical Islam.  Terrorism is a tactic that they use, it's not the thing with which we can be at war.  We are at war with radical Islam.  It's not a war we started; it's a war we must finish, and it's tough when your enemies are psychopaths and your allies are the French.  [laughter, applause].

While our great country was able to rescue Europe from the grasp of Nazism and communism, who can we look to to ally themselves with us against Islamic extremists?

It will not be Europe.  Twenty million muslims now live in Europe; the largest mosque in the world is now being built in London, and the most popular name for a male child in Amsterdam and several other European countries--cities, excuse me, is Mohammed.

I repeat.  America is the last best hope of Western civilization.  Everything we are, everything we have achieved in this nation is under attack from jihadism abroad to multiculturalism here at home.  Our leaders, charged with the responsibility of defending our land, our culture, and our sovereignty, refuse to do their jobs.  Every generation of Americans must face its test, a test passed at Valley Forge, at Gettysburg, at Normandy beaches, and on Flight 93.  Whenever Americans see their country threatened or their flag falling, they act.  This is their country.  The country they built, they fought and bled and died for.  Will our generation muster the will and the courage to do the same?

It's why I'm running for president, because we are threatened, because we need a leader, because we cannot afford to fail.  This is our culture.  Fight for it.  This is our flag.  Pick it up.  This is our country.  Take it back.  Thank you.  [applause].

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Time: 13:20