This week Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado was one of only 20 Republicans to join Nancy Pelosi and 181 other House Democrats in supporting the amnesty amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Luckily, they failed.
The amnesty amendment removed from the NDAA – over Coffman’s objections – would have recommended the secretary of defense invite the young beneficiaries of Obama’s DACA “deferred action” amnesty be invited to join the US Army as a way to expedite their path to citizenship. Thus, we would compromise even further the standards for military enlistment that have already been eroded by the Obama administration.
Many are speculating that the real motive behind the Democrats’ amnesty amendment to the NDAA bill is to get Republicans to go on record as supporting the results of Obama’s 2012 unconstitutional DACA program – thereby undermining their court challenge to the Obama actions. Of course, that is unimportant to Coffman since he supports the Obama amnesty program.
Coffman’s May 14 NDAA amnesty vote marks a new low point in his downward slide from patriot to open-borders panderer. Betraying the integrity of our nation’s military enlistment standards is a 180-degree turn from his admirable record as a champion of military readiness and veterans’ rights.
Until now I have refrained from open public criticism of his voting record in hopes that he would return to constitutional principles. But his NDAA vote this week crosses the line.
When Coffman was first elected to Congress to represent the same district I represented for 10 years, he did not support amnesty proposals. Then something changed, and he moved leftward on immigration enforcement issues.
Many people have observed that his recent change in policy direction coincided with the change in the boundaries of his congressional district. The new district gave Coffman an electorate that has registered Republicans outnumbered slightly by both Democrats and the unaffiliated – and about twice as many Hispanic voters as the old district.
Hispanic voter registration in Colorado has been 3-to-1 Democrat over Republican for decades. Obama received 73 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012, up from 68 percent in 2008. So, this is not something new. What is new is that Hispanic voter registration is growing as a percentage of the electorate and is now about 13 percent statewide. However, Hispanic turnout is still only about 10 percent of total turnout, and in Coffman’s new district, it is less than 8 percent of the total vote. Moreover, that turnout did NOT increase in 2014 over the turnout in the 2010 midterm election.
So, the interesting question about Rep. Coffman is: If he will change his position radically to pander to a vociferous segment of only 8 percent of voters, abandoning both constitutional principles and the Republican platform, what won’t he do to pander to other, larger and more powerful groups?
As mentioned above, this week’s NDAA vote is only the latest evidence of Coffman’s new commitment to the Democrats’ open-borders agenda. In 2014, he was one of only a handful of Republicans to vote against the House Republicans’ effort to defund Obama’s 2014 DAPA amnesty (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) through an amendment to the budget resolution. In short, Coffman has become a pro-amnesty vote Nancy Pelosi and Barack Hussein Obama can count on.
Immigration policy aside, there is something really odd and surreal about Coffman’s transformation from constitutional conservative to an apologist for Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty binge. The odd thing is that his move leftward on amnesty has occurred while his district and the nation as a whole has been moving rightward. Thus, his political miscalculation in joining the open-borders brigade is as astounding as his policy confusions.
The liberal Denver Post last week praised those who had tried to place the amnesty provision in the Defense Department spending bill while chastising the Republican opponents for their “partisanship.” The Post and other liberals think it just dandy that Democrats want to bring immigration issues into every policy arena, even the national defense budget.
The left wants us to believe that opposition to the open-borders game plan like the NDAA amendment is “partisan,” as if the Arizona Democrat who placed the amnesty amendment into the NDAA bill on a committee vote was acting on purely “humanitarian” motives. The Post editorial did not bother to mention that every single Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee voted for the amnesty amendment. But that’s not partisanship; it’s only partisanship when Republicans vote against it.
There is nothing really new in this picture. Democrats are pro-amnesty because it is in their interests to add 20 million new low-income voters to the national electorate in the next decade, and a general amnesty is the quickest way to get there. The interesting question is why a handful of Republicans like Mike Coffman are marching to their drum.
Tom Tancredo is the founder of the Rocky Mountain Foundation and founder and co-chairman of Team America PAC.He represented Colorado’s sixth congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1999 to 2009, and he is a former presidential candidate.
He is the author of In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America’s Border and Security, and he can be heard every Monday on Grassroots Radio Colorado with Kris Cook (KLZ 560 AM).