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News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)
December 24, 2005
Pariah On Immigration Now A Power
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News About Ireland & The Irish
NY 12/24/05 DC’s Pariah On Immigration Is Now A Power
IT 12/24/05 Funeral Of Dr McKiernan Set For Wednesday
BB 12/24/05 Goodbye Mr Darcy, Hello Minister
Representative Tom Tancredo, Republican of Colorado
December 24, 2005
Capitol's Pariah On Immigration Is Now A Power
By Rachel L. Swarns
New York Times
DENVER, Dec. 21 - For nearly a decade, Representative
Tom Tancredo, Republican of Colorado, has been
dismissed by his critics as little more than an angry
man with a microphone, a lonely figure who rails
against immigration and battles his own president and
So radical were his proposals - calling for a fence
along the United States border with Canada, for
instance - and so fierce were his attacks on fellow
Republicans who did not share his views that many of
his colleagues tried to avoid him. Mr. Tancredo said
Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser, had told
him not "to darken the doorstep of the White House."
But last week, the man denounced by critics on the
left and on the right suddenly emerged as an
influential lawmaker. Pressured by conservative
constituents angered by the continuing flow of illegal
immigrants into the United States, Republicans rallied
around Mr. Tancredo to defy the president and produce
the toughest immigration legislation in more than a
Mr. Tancredo and his allies fought successfully to
strip the measure of any language offering support for
Mr. Bush's plan to provide temporary legal status for
illegal immigrants working in the United States. And
he helped win support for provisions that once seemed
unthinkable to many lawmakers, like the construction
of five fences across 698 miles of the United States
border with Mexico.
Mr. Tancredo did not get everything he wanted. He
still wants a moratorium on legal immigration,
soldiers on the border, a longer fence (and one along
the border with Canada) as well as a law that would
deny citizenship to children born to parents who are
not citizens or permanent residents. And many
Republicans and Democrats say it seems unlikely that
the border security bill passed by the House last week
will become law in its current form, if it ever
becomes law at all.
But as a jubilant Mr. Tancredo returned to his office
here this week, there was little doubt that he had
become a symbol of the ascendancy of deeply
conservative thinkers in the bitter Republican debate
over immigration policy. The lonely firebrand had
become the man of the moment, and he could not help
but marvel at the wonder of it all.
"I would have said to you a month ago or so, 'Yeah,
it's definitely the case that I am a pariah,' " Mr.
Tancredo, 60, said. "And a lot of people don't want to
get near me for fear of being tainted or something."
"But it has changed, and I have had the greatest
feeling of respectability lately," he said, laughing.
"I joke with people all the time now. I say, 'I've got
to find a new issue because I'm way too mainstream.'
"I'm, like, respectable and respected. I mean, it
leaves me speechless."
It leaves his critics outraged.
Advocates for immigrants sent press releases after the
House passed the border security bill, accusing the
Republican Party of threatening vulnerable immigrant
communities by catering to the extreme right. Business
leaders, who had pushed their traditional allies in
the Republican Party to support Mr. Bush's guest
worker plan, fumed.
Republicans, like Representative Jeff Flake of
Arizona, who lost the battle to include at least a
mention of the guest worker plan in the bill, shook
their heads in frustration. Asked whether Mr. Tancredo
and his allies had more success in the negotiations
over border security than did supporters of Mr. Bush's
plan, Mr. Flake responded, "You bet."
But Mr. Flake said he believed that many Republicans
voted for the bill because they believed it would
never become law. Mr. Bush had said that immigration
legislation should include his guest worker proposal,
which would allow those currently in the United States
illegally to work here legally for a few years before
being required to return home and, if they chose,
apply for re-entry. And the Senate is expected to take
up such a measure next year.
With midterm elections looming, Mr. Flake said, many
Republicans simply wanted to address voter concerns
about securing the border.
"We weren't so much making law as making a statement
here," Mr. Flake said. Mr. Tancredo's allies countered
that his support from fellow Republicans was more than
a matter of political expediency; they said it
signaled a shift in the immigration debate.
"Tom was like an Old Testament prophet crying out in
the wilderness, and finally people are starting to
listen," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of
the Center for Immigrant Studies, an advocacy group
that wants strict limits on immigration.
Mr. Tancredo laughs at the furor. He is genial and
ruddy faced, a grandson of Italian immigrants who
loves hunting and keeps Oliver L. North's "Mission
Compromised" on his bookshelf. And as he settled in a
chair this week to ponder his career, his hands sliced
and diced the air. ("It's the Italian in me," Mr.
Tancredo said, describing his gestures. He says he
sees no contradiction in his strong views and his own
After he was first elected to Congress, in 1998, Mr.
Tancredo tried to draw attention to his stance on
immigration by giving late-night speeches on a House
floor almost entirely devoid of spectators but
broadcast by C-Span. He created an immigration caucus,
got 16 Republicans to join and became its leader.
Today, Mr. Tancredo has a caucus with about 90 members
and a reputation as a go-it-alone politician willing
to sacrifice almost anyone - including his colleagues
- to his passion for enforcing and tightening the
nation's immigration laws.
In 2002, he read a front-page article in The Denver
Post about parents who were struggling to send their
son to college. They were ineligible for financial aid
because they were illegal immigrants. Outraged that
the family felt comfortable enough to appear in plain
view, Mr. Tancredo called the immigration authorities
and asked to have them deported.
He has infuriated members of his own party by
attacking President Bush and by siding against
Republicans in Congressional races when their
opponents share his views on immigration. Mr. Tancredo
said he got into a shouting match with Mr. Rove after
telling The Washington Times that Mr. Bush would have
blood on his hands if he did not toughen the nation's
immigration laws. Mr. Tancredo said that was when Mr.
Rove told him not to darken the White House's
"What kind of guy is this," Mr. Tancredo said of Mr.
Bush, "who picks and chooses the laws he enforces?"
The White House declined to characterize the Bush
administration's feelings or Mr. Rove's feelings about
Mr. Tancredo. When asked about him, Erin Healy, a
spokeswoman for the White House, said, "We worked with
a number of members in the House on immigration
The border security measure would make it a federal
crime to live in the United States illegally, which
would turn millions of immigrants into felons,
ineligible to win any legal status. The bill would
make it a crime for employees of social service
agencies and church groups to shield or offer support
to illegal immigrants.
The legislation would also require the mandatory
detention of some immigrants, would withhold some
federal aid from cities that provide immigrants with
services without checking their legal status and would
decrease the number of legal immigrants admitted
annually by eliminating a program that provides 50,000
green cards each year.
"This is a gesture to the xenophobic wing of the
party, and that is alarming," said Cecilia Muñoz, a
vice president at the National Council of La Raza. "It
threatens extraordinary harm to people."
Mr. Tancredo fears that moderate Republicans, allied
with the White House, business leaders and immigration
advocates, may derail his efforts by sinking the bill.
And so he is considering taking extraordinary
measures, including running for president in 2008.
"We just took one more island in the chain leading to
Tokyo," Mr. Tancredo said, using World War II imagery
to describe the battle to pass the House immigration
bill. "But there are still a lot of bloody battles to
Funeral Of Dr McKiernan Set For Wednesday
Last updated: 24-12-05, 10:46
The former Bishop of Kilmore, who died aged 79
yesterday, is to be buried in Cavan on Wednesday.
Dr Francis McKiernan presided over the cross-Border
diocese which spanned most of Co Cavan, parts of
Leitrim, Meath and Sligo, and three parishes in
Dr McKiernan was the longest-serving Catholic Church
bishop when he retired in 1998. He was succeeded by Dr
Leo O'Reilly after 26 years at the helm of the
In 1979, Dr McKiernan was chairman of the National
Committee which organised the visit of Pope John Paul
II to Ireland.
Extending his sympathies to Dr McKiernan's family and
diocese, the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Sean
Brady said: "He was a man of great kindness, humanity
and deep Christian faith who devoted himself entirely
to the service of his people."
A native of Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, Bishop McKiernan
is survived by two sisters, Mary Comey and Ann Lee.
He will be buried next Wednesday following midday Mass
in the Cathedral of Saints Patrick and Phelim in Cavan
© 2005 ireland.com
Goodbye Mr Darcy, Hello Minister
A low budget tale of lax morals and religious revival
in an Irish village has attracted a big name actor.
Matthew MacFadyen, best known for his role in the BBC
spy drama Spooks, is one of the stars of Ireland's
latest feature film, Middletown.
It tells the story of ambition and betrayal as two
brothers battle for the heart and soul of their home
town, threatening to tear one family apart.
Filming began five weeks ago in Glaslough in County
Monaghan, which is home to the Castle Leslie estate.
The crew later moved to the Ulster Folk and Transport
Museum in Cultra, County Down, where the final scenes
were shot on Friday.
Despite the cold and the long hours, MacFadyen - who
also starred opposite Keira Knightley in a film
adaptation of Pride and Prejudice - enjoyed himself.
"It's a brilliant script, a brilliant director. I've
had one of the nicest times on this. Fingers crossed,"
In Middletown, MacFadyen plays a clergyman returning
to his home village.
"He has been away from his home town for a long time
training to become a minister," explained MacFadyen.
"Then he returns and finds that the place has fallen
into sin and corruption while he's been away.
"He decides he's going to save it."
McFadyen won lots of praise for his portrayal of Mr
Darcy in the movie, Pride and Prejudice, and the film
netted a Golden Globe nomination.
So the actor is well used to playing dark and brooding
""In Spooks, I was quite stern, serious, saving the
world everyday," he laughed.
"Mr Darcy, of course, serious. Mr Darcy doesn't smile
much. Certainly, there aren't many gags in
Middletown also features Irish actress Sorcha Cusack,
Daniel Mays who starred in Vera Drake and Gerard
McSorley who won Best Actor for the film Omagh.
With a budget of £2m, the production has been financed
by the Irish Film Board and the Northern Ireland Film
and Television Commission.
It will be released in cinemas across Ireland next
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/24 10:14:18 GMT
© BBC MMV
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