Specter, Tancredo Square Off on Immigration Bill

March 26, 2006 — -- In an exclusive interview on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., defended his immigration bill, insisting it does not grant amnesty to illegal immigrants, and asserting, "We have created the demand for these workers; they are doing the jobs that no one else wants to do."

But Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., also appearing exclusively on "This Week," aims to make immigration an issue in the 2008 presidential contest. He said of Specter's legislation, "It's not deportation, it is amnesty … and what it does is send a horrible message."

Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reminded his Republican colleague from the House that the United States has "11 million undocumented immigrants in the country" and, "We have a national security problem. … We need to know who they are and where they are."

Tancredo: 'Bad Policy'

Tancredo insisted any bill that even suggests amnesty is "a slap in the face to every single person who has done it the right way," concluding, "It's bad policy."

The Colorado Republican, appearing live from Denver, pushed the enforcement of current laws, including laws against employers employing illegal immigrants, as another part of the solution to the mounting problem.

Tancredo also defended his House bill, which he repeatedly claimed does not "criminalize good Samaritans" who provide assistance to illegal immigrants.

Specter's bill contains no such provision and the Senate also disagreed with his House counterpart over proposals for a 700-mile wall along the border. The Senate approach uses what Specter termed a "modern wall" employing "modern technological devices."

Tancredo replied, "It's really a fence," claiming the physical barrier would "direct a flow into areas where we can then have a virtual wall in place."