If Donald Trump was not having enough trouble in Utah, a former Colorado congressman and Trump supporter just added to his woes by taking on the LDS Church. Like many Americans, Tom Tancredo opposes illegal immigration – a big reason why he loves Donald Trump. It’s anybody’s guess why Tancredo thinks he is the guy to take on, or even lecture, the LDS Church about immigration policy. But, for whatever reason, he picked up the gauntlet.
In a recent piece he wrote for Trump’s ad agency Brietbart News, Tancredo writes, “It is an open secret in Washington, D.C. that the Mormon Church supports open borders and lax enforcement of immigration laws. Many Mormon politicians have been supporting amnesty and open borders for decades.” Well, that is news to me. I’ve been a Latter-day Saint for 38 years now, pre-dating Ronald Reagan’s immigration policies. I’ve spent most of those years working in and around Washington, D.C. and I’m not aware of this “open secret.”
Tancredo takes exception to the idea that opposition to Donald Trump’s immigration ideas generally can be categorized as aspects of religious freedom. His beef with the LDS Church is along these lines. He writes, “ISIS leaders must be rolling in the mosque’s aisles in uncontrolled laughter over the Mormon concern over Muslim immigration, considering that religious liberty is the first casualty wherever radical Islam and Sharia are enforced.”
He insults LDS Church leaders when he writes, “Mormons worship the US Constitution and its guarantee of religious liberty. Radical Islam is the number one enemy of religious liberty in the world today. Probably 99% of Mormon citizens and voters can make that logical connection — even while their church leadership suffers an episode of moral incoherence.” He asks, “How did [Trump’s proposed] ban on admission of likely terrorists become a war on religious liberty?” And, because Tancredo is such a likeable guy, he adds, “Once you find a good answer to that question, my friends, you will have discovered the answer to the riddle of political correctness run amok.”
Okay, Tom, I’ll be your huckleberry. No rational human being, meaning most Latter-day Saints, favors letting known terrorists into this country. What we rational human beings object to is, first, suggesting that ALL Muslims are terrorists and, second, that our potential president of the United States would ban a religion from immigration. Those objections are pretty easy to understand, Tom, if you’re rational.
I’m not surprised that you might think all Muslims are terrorists because it really feels like you think all Mexicans are criminals. Nor is it surprising for an anti-intellectual to assume that the only effective policy to keep terrorists out of our country is to ban anyone who might look like ISIS. I get it – respecting human rights and the First Amendment is too difficult for you, Tom.
But don’t take my word for it, Tom. Let’s refer to your hero, Mr. Trump. Certainly, he won’t let you down. Certainly, he will not compromise over the threat of terrorism and sealing our borders. Certainly, Trump would never change his positions on Muslims or illegal immigration.
Oops. Wait a minute, Tom. This just in over the newswire: Trump changes mind on illegal immigration. Wow! Trump never changes his mind about anything. This is an unbelievable turn of events, Tom.
Oh no. Trump was on Sean Hannity’s show last night and here is how Fox News reports the conversation. “Trump said he was open to ‘softening’ laws dealing with illegal immigrants…[he] told Hannity there would be ‘no citizenship’ for those illegal immigrants. [He said] ‘Let me go a step further- they’ll pay back-taxes, they have to pay taxes, there’s no amnesty, as such, there’s no amnesty, but we work with them.’
He also spoke of how hard it would be to deport people who have lived in the country for decades and raised a family.
“’Now, everybody agrees we get the bad ones out,’” Trump said. “’But when I go through and I meet thousands and thousands of people on this subject, and I’ve had very strong people come up to me, really great, great people come up to me, and they’ve said, ‘Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person who’s been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out, it’s so tough, Mr. Trump,’ I have it all the time! It’s a very, very hard thing.’”
So Trump has caved on immigration, Tom. Remember, this is the guy who has insisted for nearly two years that he would create a “deportation force” and that all illegal immigrants were going to go back where they came from. His number one media pimp, Ann Coulter, is beside herself. She tweeted that of course it’s not amnesty, “it’s comprehensive immigration reform!!!!” and added in another sarcastic tweet to Trump, “Well, if it’s ‘hard,’ then nevermind” and then “The only part he left out was the ‘hoops’ they’ll have to jump through.”
And, Tom, your friend, Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies is flabbergasted. He says, “I’ve been joking to reporters over the past couple of days that Trump’s supporters wouldn’t be likely to abandon him unless he embraced Chuck Schumer’s immigration policy. Guess what!…Trump didn’t need to ‘soften’ his immigration position — he needed to define a coherent one and stick with it.”
So, Tom, lighten up. The Mormons have it right. We have it right on immigration and we have it right on religious freedom. Trump walking back his crazy immigration ideas is just the first step. The next step for him will be walking back his Muslim ban as well. Just take a breather, Tom. Look, by the time we get to November you will know what the rest of the conservative movement already knows about Donald Trump – he’s no conservative and everything, including human life and national security, are negotiable. Best wishes.