CHAPEL HILL — At least 100 protesters walked out on former congressman Tom Tancredo as he spoke Monday night on the values of Western culture at UNC-Chapel Hill.
The group stood in unison, yelling, "No human is illegal," before moving outside the Student Union and into the Pit, a concrete courtyard at the center of campus activity.
Kevin Deanna, founder of Youth for Civilization, the national group that sponsored Tancredo's speech, laughed loudly at the group's statement.
As the demonstrators filed out of the union auditorium, Tancredo said fear of debate was driving them away.
"No one here is afraid of you," one yelled.
But most were silent.
"They're welcome [to leave], but there's nothing democratic about this," Tancredo said. "Believe me, this is a lot better than last time."
Of the fewer than 100 left behind, most shared Tancredo's pro-Western perspective. But when he suggested that conservative student activists never behave as badly as those who broke a window and disrupted his speech last spring, another protester shouted, "No, you lynched people."
"I'm glad that they showed what they really do believe in, and that's censorship," Tancredo went on.
Thirty-six UNC public safety and Chapel Hill Police officers guarded the auditorium, four times as many officers as those who forced about 30 protesters out of Bingham Hall last spring.
Last year, officers threatened demonstrators with a Taser weapon and dispersed them with pepper spray.
After the protesters left, Tancredo continued his speech and answered questions from a supportive audience.
"I kind of wish some of the opposers would have stayed around and had some ideas exchanged with him," said Daryl Ann Dunigan, YWC's campus leader.
The event was co-sponsored by the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty and the Leadership Institute.
"There is a reason why America remains the destination of choice of people who are trying to escape oppressive governments everywhere," Tancredo said. "We are the last best hope for mankind."
Meanwhile, in the Pit, student groups held a pro-immigrant rally and accused Tancredo of racism.
"Hateful discourse amplified by money and access to media create the foundation upon which Minutemen and the KKK operate," wrote Feminist Students United in a statement.
Raleigh resident Ed Patterson asked Tancredo how the U.S. could continue to permit legal immigration when the 9/11 terrorists had exploited the system and so many Americans are unemployed.
"Why do we continue to allow immigration from Muslim countries?" he asked.
"It's the cult of multiculturalism," Tancredo said, adding that 180,000 legal immigrants per month were competing with Americans for jobs.
He said Democrats view immigrants as potential votes and Republicans view them as cheap labor, sapping any political will to tighten borders.
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