Last night, the Texas Tribune and Univision 41 (link in Spanish) televised the much anticipated immigration debate between San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Texas state Senator Dan Patrick, likely Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.
The debate covered multiple issues concerning immigration, such as border security and the Texas DREAM Act — and even some other issues, including Asian terrorists, “anchor babies,” choice, and gay marriage, that Patrick decided mid-debate somehow pertained to the discussion.
Thankfully, Castro was there to fact-check Patrick and keep him honest about his awful immigration record.
Immediately as soon as the debate began, Dan Patrick tried to distance himself as far as possible from all the previous anti-immigrant, racially-fueled rhetoric he's been highlighting throughout the Republican lt. gov. primary:
“This is an important discussion tonight. I hope we stay away from politics and talk about what is maybe the most important public policy issue that faces Texans, Americans, the mayor, hopefully the lieutenant governor,” Patrick said, pointing at himself. “It's not about being tough. It's about telling the truth. It's about talking about our broken immigration system [that]forces people to come to this country illegally.
Patrick claimed to “only want to discuss public policy.” But Castro wasn't buying Patrick's sudden change of tone.
“We have to level with Texans about this issue. Nobody disagrees with you Senator when you talk about the need to clamp down on coyotes, on people who are crossing here illegally, to enhance border security,” Castro said. “You and I can agree that we need to enhance border security. However, tonight we're going to talk, as well, about the fact that you've been part of the problem. It surprises me that you're saying you're not tough because out there on Twitter, in front of the Alamo, in your campaign, you've been huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf and now you are dancing around, tip-toeing, like little Red Riding Hood on this issue.” (emphasis mine)
Right from the go, Castro build a case as to why Patrick is such an awful choice for Texas:
“Texas has had a prosperous economy over the decades because we have been different from places like Arizona and California. In 1994, when Pete Wilson proposed Proposition 187, George W. Bush as governor said that's not the right path for Texas. In 2010, when Jan Brewer proposed SB1070, along with the Arizona Legislature, Rick Perry said that is not right for Texas. Republicans and Democrats in the state of Texas have helped the state prosper because they've always been good on tone, and they have taken a reasonable approach on immigration.”
Dan Patrick is so far to the right that he opposes measures previously championed by both Democrats and Republicans, including George W. Bush and Gov. Rick Perry. Castro argued Patrick is the Pete Wilson of Texas. “Your numbers are wrong, your policies are wrong and you're wrong for Texas,” Castro said.
Castro held Patrick accountable for his opposition against the Texas DREAM Act, which Patrick says he wants to get rid off. He also criticized Patrick for his opposition to a guest workers program, program Patrick then claimed that night he was not entirely against.
Another major point of discussion was border security.
While both Castro and Patrick agreed that border security was a priority, Castro expressed a bigger knowledge on the real issues at hand. Patrick, however, made some rather hyped-up comments regarding terrorists from Asia.
“We know besides narco-terrorists that there is a strong likelihood that terrorists who want to harm our country have come here. And I can't go into great detail about some classified information, but just last week we apprehended 8,000 people crossing the border — and half of them, by the way, were from Central America,” Patrick attempted to articulate. “We've apprehended people from Pakistan, Nepal, and China. In fact, there are big signs if you've been down there in the border in Chinese and Spanish.”
Patrick successfully then managed to make less sense.
In the midst of a debate on immigration, Patrick brought up his “pro-life” credentials, contradicting some of his earlier remarks made about “anchor babies.”
“If a mom comes across the border pregnant, I want her to have that child, I want her to have that Hispanic child,” Patrick said. “You believe she has a right to take that baby. I want to protect that baby, because we are born in the image of God.”
It is important to note here that this same baby Patrick claims to want to protect because he is “pro-life,” is also the same child he earlier condemned as being an “anchor baby.” Can't exactly have it both ways.
Patrick argued Hispanics share the same religious values as he does. He believes so because Democrat state Senator Lucio joined Republicans this summer in order to pass the Republican Party's anti-abortion bill. Patrick conveniently forget to mention his six other Hispanic colleagues in the Senate who opposed such measures.
While other important immigration issues were absent from the conversation — such as the S-Comm policy— it was clear to everyone watching just how out of touch Dan Patrick is to the rest of the state.
And just like Castro boldly predicted, Patrick might be Democrats' ticket back into power.