Tom Tancredo Vs. John Hickenlooper—And Pancho Villa

The surprise decision of Tom Tancredo to run as a third party candidate in Colorado's gubernatorial election and his surprising (at least to the political establishment) surge in the polls has brought immigration to the forefront of the race.

VDARE.com readers are no doubt well aware of Tancredo's record on immigration. But few people outside of Colorado have heard of his Democratic opponent, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

Tancredo just released an ad featuring Marat Kudlis, a legal European immigrant whose son had been killed by illegal alien Francis Hernandez. The father puts the blame on Hickenlooper's sanctuary city policies:

"An illegal alien crashed into a Baskin Robbins store and killed my 3-year-old son Marten.

"The illegal alien had been arrested 16 times but never turned over to immigration because of the sanctuary city policies that Mayor Hickenlooper supports. I am sending you Marten's picture, Mr. Mayor. Try to sleep at night knowing your policy contributed to his death.

"My wife and I are legal immigrants. Tom Tancredo is our choice for Governor."

[Bad Policies Kill People, Tancredo for Governor, YouTube]

Hickenlooper's campaign responded by claiming that there are no sanctuary policies in Denver:

"This case had nothing to do with John, but it's these kinds of shameful, false attacks that Tom Tancredo has routinely used to grab headlines…His latest attempt to exploit a horrible tragedy to fill his own political coffers is sad, but not surprising."

[Tancredo ad blames Hickenlooper's policies for child's death, by Karen Crummy Denver Post, October 12, 2010]

VDARE dealt with Hickenlooper's sanctuary policies back in 2005 when an illegal alien employee of Hickenlooper's killed a police officer.  Denver's policy is

"Generally, officers will not detain, arrest, or take enforcement action against a person solely because he/she is suspected of being an undocumented immigrant. If enforcement action is deemed necessary under these circumstances, the approval of an on duty supervisor or commander is required."

Hickenlooper and his apologists claim that that Denver is not a sanctuary city because it is technically permissible for the police to "take enforcement action". But in practice, this means that the Denver police never look up the legal status of those who are already arrested, even for serious crimes. This was the case with Hernandez.

State Senator Ted Harvey explained how Hickenlooper's immigration policies work in practice:

"Denver police officers made less than 500 calls to ICE since 2006 out of over 250,000 total arrests, over 15,000 DUI arrests and over 500,000 traffic stops. Over 7,000 referrals were made to ICE by the Denver county jail for individuals already in custody. Hickenlooper consistently lumps the two numbers together—Denver police referrals and jail referrals—thereby misrepresenting the extent of Denver police contacts with ICE… in 2009, Denver police officers made only 105 'Refer to Immigration' notes on arrest reports for 63,803 individuals arrested. That is less than .002% of arrests."

[Senator Ted Harvey, coauthor of SB 06-090, asks: "Denver is not a sanctuary city," says a Denver Post editorial. Is that a fact or is it fiction? Colorado Senate News, September 13, 2010]

But there are other aspects of Hickenlooper's immigration record that warrant more attention.

I was shocked to find an article that heretofore has been completely ignored.

In 2003, Hickenlooper gave in Spanish to the Museo de las Americas in commemoration of the 1910 Mexican Revolution. The Denver Post translated:

" 'I would like this opportunity to invite you to remember some ideals and aspects of the revolution of 1910 that we must continue to strive for here in Denver, so that we may have a better community,' Hickenlooper said in Spanish, reading from a prepared text. 'Our weapons in this struggle will not be rifles and cannons. Our weapons today are a positive attitude, exercising our rights, and working together toward a better society.' "

According to the Denver Post, the crowd yelled "¡Viva Mexico! ¡Viva Hickenlooper!"

The Post article continued:

"The revolution of 1910 was a civil war led by Francisco I. Madero, Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa, among others, to overthrow General Porfirio Diaz, Mexico's dictatorial president who ruled for more than 30 years."

[Multilingual Mayor: Hickenlooper En Español, by Hyoung Chang, Denver Post, November 19, 2003]

So what are these great "ideals and aspects of the revolution of 1910 that we must continue to strive for here in Denver"?

Zapata, Villa and most of the Mexican revolutionaries were avowed socialists. One of the chief goals of the revolution was the nationalization of land, and the expropriation of mining and oil assets owned by Americans. Thus in 1915, Villa confiscated smelters owned by American Smelting And Refining Company in the state of Chihuahua. (Not surprisingly, he proved incapable of running the mine on his own.)

And in January 1916 in Santa Isabel, Chihuahua, Villa's supporters attacked a train on Mexican Central Railroad. They singled out the 17 American civilians on board and murdered them in cold blood.

Two months later, Villa went on from killing Americans in Mexico to border incursions. Yelling "Viva Villa" and "Viva Mexico"—just as Hickenlooper shouted at the Museo de las Americas—his men raided the town of Columbus, New Mexico at 4:15 in the morning on March 9, looting and burning homes and killing another 18 Americans in the process.

While these are the most infamous atrocities committed against Americans during the Mexican Revolution, there were literally dozens of similar incidents occurring during the Mexican Revolution from 1910 through 1918.

Does Hickenlooper endorse every violent, socialist, or anti-American aspect of the Mexican Revolution? Probably not.

But the fact that he was willing to give a speech celebrating this event without any qualifications shows at best a complete ignorance of history, combined with the worst type of Hispandering. Had he made as a friendly a statement about the Confederate States of America, he would still be apologizing today.

Hickenlooper's wife Helen Thorpe is an immigration journalist who released a typical immigrant puff book called Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America. The book chronicles four girls whose parents came here illegally. One was an anchor baby, one received amnesty, and two remained "undocumented".

The book is supposedly a non-fiction. But due to Thorpe's concern that any illegal aliens she covered would face reprisal from immigration authorities (fat chance!), she changed their names, and the names of every single illegal alien in the book along with biographical details. So she essentially could have made up whatever she wanted and not be held accountable.

Publishers Weekly explains Thorpe's mission

"She personalizes the ongoing debate over immigration and frames it so compassionately and sensibly that even the staunchest opponents of immigration liberalization might find themselves rethinking their positions."

No one denies that there are some nice illegal immigrants whose lives will be inconvenienced by enforcing our laws. But when immigration reform patriots "personalize" the debate by including the victims of illegal immigration, such as Marten Kudlis, then we are attempting to "exploit a horrible tragedy."

There are other ways to personalize immigration in Colorado. Detective Donald Young was murdered on Mother's Day of 2005 by illegal alien Raul Garcia-Gomez who worked as a dishwasher in a restaurant owned by Hickenlooper. Garcia Gomez had supplied an invalid Social Security Number on his application, but when Hickenlooper's restaurant was notified of the no-match, they did nothing. After the murder, Hickenlooper downplayed his role with the restaurant and told talk show host Peter Boyle that he was a "silent partner" and therefore had no responsibility.

Yet he had no problem bragging to the Rocky Mountain News when he gave his pro-Mexican Revolution speech about not being very silent when talking en Espanol with his employees. The puff piece noted: "Spanish is not a novelty for Hickenlooper... he often converses in Spanish with some of his cooks at his restaurants." [Mayor Oils Cultural Wheels in Speech, by Hector Gutierrez, Rocky Mountain News, November 19, 2003]

Thorpe addresses Garcia Gomez in her book—but only to complain that the illegal aliens she chronicles are unfairly lumped together with him.

 "If [the two teenage illegal aliens she profiles] had gotten equal time with Raul Gomez Garcia, perhaps the rest of Denver would have been left with a more balanced view of the most recent arrivals, but the girls led quiet unnoticed lives. And so the narrative of Gomez Garcia perpetually threatened to hijack the collective understanding of who these newcomers were...We were one city after all, I thought; the problem was that we just couldn't see it."

In fact, of course, the MainStream Media fawns all over Thorpe's puff subjects and stories like theirs are all too common. It is only when patriots like Tancredo force the public to take notice of the victims of illegal immigration that the MSM will even mention that Raul Gomez Garcia or Francis Hernandez are here illegally.

As you can imagine, the Colorado MSM repeatedly tries to obscure Hickenlooper's record on sanctuary cities and hiring illegal aliens. For example, when the Denver Post was obliged to acknowledge Hickenlooper's hiring of an illegal alien cop-killer, it spent more time giving him cover:

"Hickenlooper's restaurant interests were held in trust, and the mayor was not involved in the day-to-day management. The trust has since sold the mayor's stake in the restaurants. The mayor added that in 2005, it was much harder for employers to verify the legal status of potential workers. Hickenlooper also said his restaurants were among the first to start using a federal online database that allows employers to make sure Social Security information is valid before hiring. Tancredo also has come under fire in the past for his hiring practices. Illegal immigrants in 2002 said they helped remodel Tancredo's Littleton basement. Tancredo said back then that he didn't know the company he hired for the job had illegal immigrants. [Hickenlooper out of line on illegal immigration, foes say, by Christopher Osher, Denver Post, September 10, 2010]

This is media malpractice at its finest. How can Hickenlooper both be simultaneously not responsible for hiring illegal aliens, yet given credit for supposedly screening them out?

Even more disgraceful is the attempt to drag in Tancredo's using a contractor who allegedly (no evidence offered) hired illegal aliens. This is literally no different than saying Tancredo hired illegal aliens if he ate at one of Hickenlooper's restaurants.

VDARE.com does not endorse candidates. But we certainly want to let Americans know where their public officials stand. Hickenlooper's pro-illegal alien, pro-Mexican, and anti-enforcement record speaks for itself.

"Washington Watcher" [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.