Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tom Tancredo: Foreign Citizen? Attempted Usurper?

Tom Tancredo, former Congressman from Colorado, was among the Republicans vying for the party's 2008 Presidential nomination. Tancredo made a name for himself on the issue of immigration, not only calling for strong measures to halt illegal immigration, but also proposing such measures as a three-year moratorium on legal immigration and the complete elimination of H-1B visas for temporary workers. In February 2010, Tancredo shared the stage at the National Tea Party Convention with Sarah Palin and Birther advocate Joseph Farah.

Farah, as it happens, also endorsed Tancredo during the 2008 campaign. Such an endorsement would rather suggest that Tancredo's eligibility was not in question.

But under the Birther standard of Presidential eligibility, that is far from certain. Tancredo's website states that he was born in Denver, Colorado, but there is no publicly-available evidence supporting this. No birth certificate, no newspaper announcements, nothing. What was the name of the hospital Tom Tancredo was born in? What was the name of the doctor who delivered him? We don't know. And yet, this lack of information did not stand in the way of Tancredo garnering the endorsement of the man who demands this same information from Obama.

Moreover, Tancredo's website states that he is the "grandson of Italian immigrants." Whereas Barack Obama has American ancestors dating back to the eighteenth century, Tom Tancredo is only two generations (at most) removed from Europe. Indeed, his grandparents' nationality is reflected in Tancredo's genealogy, as provided by William Reitweisner. But even Reitweisner doesn't identify a birthplace for Tom's father, Gerald Tancredo. And despite a birthdate in 1911, there is no "Gerald Tancredo" in the 1920 or 1930 Censuses. In other words: we have no evidence that Gerald Tancredo was born in the United States, or that he was a U.S. citizen when Tom was born in 1945.

Still, that remains speculative. Perhaps Tom could prove he was born in Denver, satisfying that prong of Birtherism. Perhaps he could prove that his father was a U.S. citizen, satisfying that prong. But there is one prog of Birtherism that he very likely does not satisfy.

Tom's paternal grandfather was an Italian native and citizen. As was, one should imagine, his paternal great-grandfather. Under Italian citizenship law, that makes Tom Tancredo a citizen of Italy. And if persons entitled to dual citizenships are excluded from the Presidency, as many Birthers insist, then Tom Tancredo was running for an office he was Constitutionally ineligible for.

Of course, no one ever questioned Tancredo's eligibility, or inquired into his parents' citizenship, or investigated the nuances of Italian citizenship law as it pertained to his father and grandfather. Indeed, he was personally endorsed by no less than Birtherism's greatest spokesman. Perhaps if Tancredo runs again in 2012, we'll see how consistent the Birthers are.


  1. Wow Loren, you sure didn't leave them a lot of wiggle room this time. lol

  2. As long as he was born in the USA and both his parents are citizens, he is eligible.
    Not that Tancredo ever had a chance at securing the nomination or becoming president... I would say his chances were about the same as the liberal darling Roger Calero, who was on ballots for president and was not eligible.
    But let's look at a hypothetical and suppose that Tancredo was ineligible... doesn't that support Arizona's recent legislation, which would require presidential candidates to prove they are eligible before the state allows them to be on the ballot?