FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            CONTACT:   Adriana Alarcon

April 19, 2002                                                                                     202-546-0008



Hispanic Leaders Condemns the Irresponsible Statements

by Congressman Tancredo of Colorado


            Washington, DCThe Board of Directors of The Latino Coalition and the Hispanic Business Roundtable today condemned the irresponsible statements of Republican Congressman Thomas Tancredo (CO-6). 


            “The outrageous statements by this obviously desperate Congressman should be immediately condemned by the leadership in Congress,” said TLC President Robert Deposada.  “Congressman Tancredo basically stated that unless we militarize our southern border and basically build a wall to keep Mexicans out, terrorists will inundate this country and that the blood of Americans will be in the hands of the President.”


            In a statement published in The Washington Times today, the Congressman states “unless we do something significant to control our borders, we're going to have another event with someone waltzing across the borders. Then the blood of the people killed will be on this administration and this Congress.” 


            “For a member of Congress to use this kind of purely political rhetoric against our President in a time of war is simply outrageous and irresponsible.  Obviously this Congressman is so desperate to win reelection that he is trying to use the race card to take advantage of the fears and concerns of voters,” Deposada added.  “This irresponsible Congressman is simply trying to take advantage of the September 11th attack on America to once again instill fear against individuals from Latin America.”


            “The fact is that there has been no evidence that people crossing our southern border have been involved in any kind of terrorist activities,” said HBR President Mario Rodriguez.  “As a matter of fact, Mr. Tancredo has completely ignored our northern border and the problems associated with overstayed visas.  How interesting that the Congressman only targets Mexicans and our southern border in his inflammatory rhetoric against immigrants?  Using the terrorist threat as an excuse to instill fear in voters is simply an outrageous attempt to hide his support for an ethnic-based immigration policy that discriminates against people from Latin America, and play on the fear of all Americans.” 


            “Congressman Tancredo should be ashamed of himself,” Deposada said.  “And so should any other Congressman that does not stand up and condemn this outrageous and dangerous rhetoric.  We call on the congressional leadership to immediately condemn these statements and replace Mr. Tancredo as Chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus.”