Tommy Vallejos, a Montgomery County Commissioner and GOP candidate for Tennessee’s District 67 State House seat currently held by retiring State Rep. Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville), has been an advocate for both legal and illegal aliens in Tennessee.
Vallejos is the founder and current Chairman of Latinos for Tennessee (L4TN) and former Director for Hispanic Organization for Progress & Education (HOPE), a position he held for almost five years but which is not referenced on his campaign’s website. Pitts’ wife Cynthia served on HOPE’s board during Vallejos’ tenure as director.
While leading HOPE, Vallejos joined Soros-backed open border groups including the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) in the 2010 D.C. march organized by the National Immigration Forum. Rally-goers were demanding comprehensive immigration reform that along with border security, would include an amnesty and path to citizenship for illegal aliens.
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, considered Congress’ most radical open borders advocate for illegal aliens, was the rally’s keynote speaker.
Today, Vallejos tells The Tennessee Star that “I have never been for amnesty, but felt our immigration system was broken (still is) and needed reform.”
As a recognized leader of the Latino community, Vallejos who described himself as a “staunch Republican,” opposed a 2006 Clarksville City Council proposal introduced by Councilman Ken Takasaki that would have required businesses seeking to contract with the city, to attest that they would not employ or use services from illegal aliens in performing the contract. At the time, Vallejos said that even though he didn’t support “illegal activity,” the ordinance “would ‘hurt the local businessmen’ and that it wouldn’t stand up in court.”
One of the “local businessmen” Vallejos helped was Monica Rivera, “an undocumented Mexican business owner” who,
“[w]ith Vallejos’ help, Rivera founded the taqueria La Laguna with just three tables. Now, it’s a big establishment with its own supermarket. She also sends other Latinos to Vallejos.”
Months before the Clarksville proposal was introduced, the Democrat controlled Tennessee legislature passed a bill Democrat Governor Bredesen signed, prohibiting the state from doing business with companies employing illegal aliens. Last year Vallejos explained his position on the ordinance to the Spanish language Univision News this way:
I remember one of the ordinances they were trying to pass was to make sure illegal aliens weren’t hired and I thought, ‘We can’t do that’,” he says. ‘They’re gonna base discrimination on a surname? My kids were born and raised in this country. But they have a Latino name. And they’ve probably been here longer than most folks. So I opposed that. I simply did.’
In 2006 though, Vallejos said that his opposition was because Takasaki “refused to stand up” to another 2006 Clarksville City Council proposal that would have made English the official language of the city government.
Vallejos attacked the proposal as “discriminatory” reflecting “bigotry and hate” and was concerned that it would impair the city’s “welcome mat.”
Now, however, Vallejos tells The Star that he was asked to stand against the English only proposal although he did not indicate the origin of the request:
Today I would support it because I am more educated on assimilation. My own children don’t speak Spanish. While I am very proud of my Spanish language, the importance of all of US speaking English is essential.
Remaining active in local politics exclusively on behalf of Latinos, Vallejos who today highlights having become the first Latino County Commissioner and possibly the first Latino legislator in Tennessee’s General Assembly, opposed the “Clarksville Homeland Security Officers Program.” Approved by his city’s Council, this program required police officers to report information to ICE about illegal aliens encountered in the course of performing their law enforcement duties.
Two years later, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar anti-illegal alien Arizona state law.
Vallejos’ organization L4TN says it stands for conservative values and “has supported Trump’s immigration policies.” Even though Vallejos himself campaigned for Cruz, once Trump won the nomination, Vallejos told Univision News that:
he’ll be voting for Trump, because he doubts that the candidate would be able to move forward with his controversial immigration policies, among them the one where he’d deport nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants.
‘We need an immigration plan that’s gonna address those that are hiding. And those wanting to seek an education. I’m not calling for an amnesty plan. But I think he needs to talk about something that’s just.’
Ten days after Vallejos confirmed his run the state House seat, L4TN’s executive director Raul Lopez told The Star that “[a]s of today, our organization has not taken an official position on in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants, but our group has a long track record of affirming both the rule of law and immigration.” Last year, L4TN endorsed state Sen. Mark Green’s bill addressing sanctuary cities.
Vallejos, as the founder of L4TN, has endorsed Green’s Congressional campaign. Green, who has worked closely with L4TN supported the 2015 in-state tuition bill for illegal aliens.
When asked directly by The Star to state his position on the in-state tuition issue, Vallejos responded:
I am opposed to in-state tuition. While I am sympathetic to their plight, we must uphold the law.
After taking time to provide an extensive and expansive response to The Star, Vallejos boarded a flight to Israel as part of a coalition called the Latino-Jewish Relationship Committee. They stand in solidarity with Israel and will visit at a particularly historic moment after the President’s announcement of relocating the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. They will meet with government officials in Israel and the Colonel who erected the security wall around Jerusalem.