Diana West

Somehow, it isn't fair that with illegal immigration now a defining issue of American politics, the one politician more than any other who has taught Americans to re-imagine their land as a nation with controllable borders is trailing in the GOP presidential polls. I refer, of course, to Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, whose congressional career has been guided by a once-seemingly impossible goal: to convince Americans that we had an illegal immigration problem.

This was something many Americans -- from the business community, with its addiction to cheap labor, to the great middle class, with its addiction to cheap childcare and household help -- all too readily denied.

If convincing people we had an illegal immigration crisis wasn't hard enough, he also had to persuade people there was a solution to this problem of porous borders that 10 or 20 million mainly Spanish-speaking illegal aliens had crossed -- and are still crossing. What are you gonna do, his detractors would say, build a fence?

Well, yes. That was one idea. And while that fence has yet to be built, it has been voted into law and signed by the president (despite his open-border self). In the course of the debate, Tancredo has helped many Americans once again think of the United States as a sovereign nation, not a honey pot -- a worthy testament to a congressional career that he will be bringing to an end by not seeking re-election.

But what about Tancredo's presidential campaign? This week, he debuted a new TV commercial challenging voters, as well as his fellow candidates, to link the illegal alien issue to the national security threat of jihadist terrorism. And despite this being the age of jihadist terrorism, Tancredo's TV spot is a first. It highlights the fact that our borders are open to more than just cheap labor by depicting the ease with which a terrorist enters a shopping mall -- like other terrorists entered the London Underground, the Spanish trains, a school in Russia -- to deposit a backpack-bomb that explodes at the end of the commercial. The message is refreshingly direct: "Tancredo. Before it's too late."

Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).