[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/10/art.tancredo.file5.cnn.jpg caption =" Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo told CNN Tuesday that he wants to deny public school funding to the children of illegal immigrants."]Denver, Colorado (CNN) - Colorado Gubernatorial hopeful Tom Tancredo, an outspoken critic of illegal immigration, told CNN he opposes altering the 14th Amendment calling the debate over it: "almost a ruse."
Describing himself as "an outspoken critic of the anchor baby phenomenon," the former five-term Republican congressman said the question of who is a citizen should be resolved by the courts.
If elected, Tancredo vowed he would trigger a court fight by denying public school funding to the children of illegal immigrants.
Tancredo also said he would force the issue "through the mechanism we use to fund education. We could say for instance that we are not going to provide support for people, the children of people who are here illegally."
Snapping his fingers for emphasis, he explained, "That would immediately start a lawsuit just like that and hopefully it would get to the Supreme Court right away."
Tancredo, who also ran for President as a Republican, is running for governor on the American Constitution Party ticket. He gained national prominence for his hardline views on immigration, a key issue in the Colorado primaries.
Tancredo supports the controversial Arizona immigration law as well as a mandate requiring employers to verify workers' social security numbers. Tancredo surprised Colorado party insiders by jumping into the race late in the game as a third party candidate - especially since he had admonished tea party activists to stay in the Republican fold.
Now, he said, the Republican party has lost its way.
"I think they're still sort of mucking around trying to find it." Tancredo said.
And, he said "I'm not convinced anymore" that tea party activists should vote Republican in the future.
"Rather than incorporating into any party, they should stay the conscience of any party, any conservative party." Tancredo said. Tancredo is uncertain about the future of the tea party; in Colorado, he predicted, "Many of them will not stay if their guy does not win the primary. They'll evaporate, go away."
As for the Washington debate over altering the 14th Amendment, he said he's convinced any attempt to change it would be fruitless: "I just don't think it's going to occur, and if it did it would take many many many years."
He said his views would prevail in a court fight because "theres nothing in the 14th Amendment zero that talks about illegal aliens."
If the candidate is concerned about alienating this state's many Latino voters he doesn't admit it.
"This has nothing to do with race," he told CNN.
Tancredo has fighting words for those who see his position anti-Latino. He said, "I would call them race baiting pimps, that's really what people are who try to make this into some sort of racial issue."