Congressman Tancredo Blasts Pope on His Pro-Immigrant Stance
Usually, when you see staunch anti-immigration Reps. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) and Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) engaged in conversation, you assume they're talking about one thing: kicking illegal immigrants out of the country.
But Wednesday night, at a birthday reception for Pope Benedict XVI at the Italian Embassy, Tancredo and Bilbray were locked in a heated discussion about something else -- their entourages. (That's how they roll, y'all.)
Tancredo, who was raised Catholic but left the church, was with his wife, Jackie, and about nine of her friends. He was overheard lamenting how difficult it was to move around the party with such a large "entourage." Bilbray (not a lapsed Catholic), who had his wife, Karen, and friends in tow, nodded as if to suggest he felt Tancredo's pain.
Even though Tancredo attended the pope's birthday reception, he was not happy with Benedict -- at all.
The pope on Wednesday called for welcoming immigrants to the United States and even issued a statement in Spanish telling the Latino community he would urge President Bush to grant legal status to illegal immigrants living in the states.
That's the kind of thing that makes Tancredo, who staked his now-defunct presidential campaign on an anti-immigration platform that included building a gigantic fence along the border of Mexico, go ballistic, to put it mildly.
Tancredo was fit to be tied by a line he read in an Agence France-Presse story that quoted the pope as saying the United States must do "everything possible to fight ... all forms of violence so that immigrants may lead dignified lives."
"I would like to know what part of our lax immigration policy is considered violent," Tancredo said in a statement provided to The Sleuth. "I fail to see how accepting more refugees than any other nation -- and providing free health care, education, housing and social service benefits to millions of illegal aliens is in any way 'violent' or 'degrading.'"
Basically, Tancredo doesn't want Pope Benedict meddling in U.S. policy matters. "It is not in his job description to engage in American politics," Tancredo said.
Our guess is that Tancredo will remain a lapsed Catholic.
Mary Ann Akers
April 17, 2008; 12:52 PM ET
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