Illegal Immigration Concerns in "The Whitest Congressional District in Colorado"

Western-based correspondent Kirk Johnson wondered why Colorado residents are getting so worked up over illegal immigration, given they don't even know any illegals, in Sunday's "Anxiety in the Land of the Anti-Immigration Crusader." Even the photo caption was slanted: "The skyline of Highlands Ranch, a booming suburb of Denver that is largely white." Then again, so is Boston.

(Back in February 2005, Johnson defended University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, who called the victims of 9-11 "little Eichmanns," from those trying to suppress his free speech: "Many students interviewed on campus in recent days said they feared that the lines being drawn around Professor Churchill were also creating boundaries about what could be freely and safely talked about in the United States.")

Johnson began his Sunday Week in Review piece: "It's hardly news that illegal immigrants lead fitfully uncertain, insecure lives. The storm winds of capitalism, uneven immigration-law enforcement and international border politics can blow unpredictably and fiercely at any time."

Of course, the Times is against "even" immigration-law enforcement as well as the "uneven" kind.

"But very similar tones of anxiety about the universe and its curveballs can be easily found in this upper-middle-class suburb southeast of Denver - in the home district of Representative Tom Tancredo, the man waging a one-note anti-immigration campaign for the Republican presidential nomination."

Presidential candidate Tancredo does favor reducing legal immigration, but to refer to his "one-note anti-immigration campaign" is a bit broad.

Johnson dealt out more race cards: "Mr. Tancredo's district is the richest, best educated and most family friendly in Colorado (the latter based on numbers of children counted by the census). Housing prices are high and there are few immigrant-based industries like manufacturing, meat-packing or agriculture. Nearly 9 of every 10 residents are white, while less than 1 in 10 are Hispanic. In several dozen interviews across the district, most people said they didn't even know an illegal immigrant."

Of course, since the Times assumes illegals live in fear in the shadows, how would people in Tancredo's district necessarily know for sure about an immigrant's legal status?

"So why would illegal immigration be a cause célèbre in a place like this, the whitest Congressional district in Colorado?

"Residents and local political leaders say the answer comes down, at least partly, to words like 'order' and 'stability.' Those concerns may mask a certain amount of bigotry or bias. But the residents say they are motivated by concerns about borders they consider broken, leaving America open and vulnerable, especially in the post-9-11 world. Government, which many people here talk about with far more scorn and rage than they do about immigrants, has become a puppet to economic forces that demand cheap and mobile labor, they say."