Tom Tancredo



The information presented below reflects the 2008 election season and is not representative of changes in titles, roles, or policy views expressed since then.

Tom TancredoRep. Tancredo (R-CO) largely ran as a single-issue candidate, linking most issues back to what he says are flaws in U.S. efforts to rein in illegal immigration. Tancredo has also not shied away from differing with his party. He opposed the troop surge in Iraq and said the United States should begin disengaging in November 2007. Tancredo was one of few Republicans to call for the resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales amid controversy surrounding Justice Department firings, although his complaints centered on Gonzalez’s performance on immigration cases. Still, Tancredo says he is a “lifelong conservative” and continues to publish “Daily Outrage” reports about illegal immigration on his presidential campaign site, generally taking a much more hard-line position than President Bush. Tancredo has come under fire for some controversial statements regarding the war on terror, particularly for his call in 2005 for the bombing of Muslim holy sites Mecca and Medina if the United States is attacked again by Islamic fundamentalist terrorists.

Prior to his 1998 election to the House, Tancredo served in the Colorado House of Representatives. He worked in the Department of Education under the Reagan and first Bush administrations before becoming president in 1993 of the conservative Independence Institute, a “free-market think tank” based in Colorado. Despite low poll numbers, Tancredo continues his campaign with the support of immigration hard-liners.

Congressman Tancredo formally withdrew his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination on December 20, 2007.

Campaign Issues

U.S. Policy toward Africa

Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) has been a prominent voice in Congress for taking action to end the violence in Darfur. Tancredo, who cochairs the House Sudan Caucus, cosponsored the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2005. He also cosponsored a 2006 House resolution urging President Bush to appoint a special envoy to Sudan. Shortly after that resolution passed, Bush appointed Special Envoy Andrew Natsios.

Tancredo did not vote on the Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007.

U.S. Policy toward India

Rep. Tancredo (R-CO), whose candidacy focused almost exclusively on immigration issues, has not often spoken about India. However, his failed proposal to end the H-1B visa program during the 108th Congress may have turned some Indian-American voters against him. USINPAC has called for the cap on H-1B visas to be eliminated altogether.

Tancredo voted for the U.S.and India Nuclear Cooperation Act of 2006.

With Rep. Kucinich and others, Tancredo cosponsored a May 2007 House resolution calling on the United States to “address the ongoing problem of untouchability in India.” That resolution has not yet been voted on.

Military Tribunals and Guantanamo Bay

Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) is in favor of keeping Guantanamo open. He voted for the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Domestic Intelligence

Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) has not said much on the issue of domestic intelligence, but he did vote in favor of the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act of 2006, which would have granted legal status to Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program.


Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) echoes many of Romney’s views on fighting terrorism. He stresses that the war is not limited to the countries where the United States is engaged militarily, but rather that the struggle is against “radical Islam” as a whole, which he calls a “civilization bent on destroying ours.”

Democracy Promotion in the Arab World

Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) thinks that the United States should “implant democracies where there are now dictatorships” in the Middle East. In an interview with Right Wing News, Tancredo explained that democracies represent the only possible forum in which the U.S. can “encourage and create the spread of moderate Islam.” Tancredo cosponsored the ADVANCE Democracy Act of 2005 (H.R. 1133). He also voted in favor of the 2006 Iran Freedom Support Act.

Energy Policy

Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) voted against the Clean Energy Act of 2007. The Colorado congressman has also said he supports drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. “Had responsible development in ANWR not been vetoed by President Clinton in 1995, that energy—and the jobs it would have created across the country—might be helping to provide fuel for the American economy today,” he says. Tancredo voted for the Energy Policy Act of 2005. He supports nuclear power and finding a nuclear repository outside Yucca Mountain, and he would remove (Grist) subsidies for fossil fuel industries.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Rep. Tancredo (R-CO), who has campaigned tirelessly for a wall to separate the United States from Mexico, frequently has cited the effectiveness of the Israeli security wall cordoning off the West Bank. In 2004, Tancredo called on then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to “stop settlement expansion on the Palestinian side of the fence.” In 2006, Tancredo cosponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006. He joined in resolutions condemning the late Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat during the early years of the Bush administration.

North Korea Policy

Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) opposed the February denuclearization deal with North Korea and supports a stronger approach. In a March 2007 piece for the Denver Post, he calls North Korea an “economic vassal” of China. For that reason, says Tancredo, the United States should pressure Beijing to push Pyongyang to end its nuclear program. He suggests making it clear to China that if North Korea fails to abandon its program, Washington will deploy theater missile defense systems in South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.

Cuba Policy

Rep. Tancredo (R-CO), whose campaign is largely focused on immigration issues, has expressed concern that “because of the generous treatment of Cuban exiles and refugees, Florida and Miami have become magnets for illegal aliens fleeing dozens of countries for purely economic reasons.”

In 2005, Tancredo voted against an amendment to the Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006 that would have prohibited the use of funds for those agencies for the enforcement of regulations preventing humanitarian donations to Cuba. That amendment was rejected.

Tancredo voted against a 2001 House bill that would have stopped enforcement of travel restrictions once Castro had released political prisoners and extradited those sought by the United States.

U.S. Policy toward China

Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) is a member of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus.

In February 2007, Tancredo introduced a House resolution in support of resuming normal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. He voted for the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act in 2001.

Tancredo cosponsored a 2006 House Resolution condemning religious persecution in China. He voted against the U.S.-China Trade Relations Act of 2000. He also cosponsored a 2001 resolution, which never passed, to end those normalized trade relations in 2001.

Defense Policy

Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) voted in favor of the National Missile Defense Bill and has generally voted in favor of defense authorization bills appropriating billions to the Defense Department. Tancredo voted against sending U.S. troops to aid the NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo in 1999.


Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) opposes the troop surge and calls for disengagement to “let regional powers and Iraqi factions cooperate to forge a new balance of power” by November 2007.

Tancredo cosponsored the 2002 House resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq. During an exchange between Giuliani and Paul at the May 2007 Republican debate over whether U.S. foreign policy in Iraq might have caused 9/11, Tancredo interjected to say “they would be trying to kill us [even if we were not in Iraq], because it is a dictate of their religion, at least a part of it. And we have to defend ourselves.”


Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) is a free trade skeptic, largely because of its potential effect on immigration to the United States. He was an outspoken opponent of CAFTA, which he said is “more than a just trade agreement about sugar and bananas; it is a thinly disguised immigration accord.” He was opposed to the creation of free trade agreements with Oman, Chile, and Singapore. Tancredo voted in favor of the 2005 House resolution proposing U.S. withdrawal from the WTO, as well as a similar 2000 resolution. Still, in November 2007, Tancredo was the only presidential candidate in the House to vote in favor of the FTA with Peru.

Homeland Security

Tancredo has framed his number one issue – cracking down on illegal immigration – as a homeland security issue as well. Tancredo voted for the Patriot Act in 2001. He voted against the legislation that established the Department of Homeland Security. Tancredo cosponsored the Real ID Act of 2005, and voted for the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act in 2004.


Tancredo has repeatedly said that the United States should support the Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (MEK), a prominent militant anti-Iran group based in Iraq that the State Department deems a terrorist organization.  Tancredo says “I’d like them to be a little thorn (NationalJournal) in the side of the government of Iran.” In 2005, Tancredo formed the Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus in the House with Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) to discuss possible routes for U.S. policy toward Iran.

Climate Change

Rep. Tancredo's (R-CO) has said he has "no doubt that global warming exists." Tancredo told TIME immigration is responsible for climate change. "Americans consume more energy than anyone else, so if a person moves here from another country, they automatically become bigger polluters," he said.


A former chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) focused his campaign on combatting illegal immigration. Newsweek has called the Colorado congressman the “loudest, angriest voice against the estimated 11 million illegal aliens now living in the United States.” Tancredo adamantly opposed the recent Senate immigration bill, which he called "the worst piece of legislation to come down the pike in a long time." He criticized the idea of amnesty (WashPost), saying “it rewards people who have broken the law, and makes a mockery of our legal system.” Tancredo also co-sponsored a bill that would deny “birthright citizenship” to the children of illegal immigrants, despite concerns that such a law would violate the 14th amendment.

United Nations

Tancredo did not address this topic during his campaign, but he voted in favor of the UN Reform Act of 2005.

U.S. Policy toward Russia

Rep. Tancredo’s stance on Russia is unknown.