Texas: Republican Lt. Gov. Candidate accepts debate challenge to talk immigration

Apr 22, 2014

Sen. Dan Patrick, r, and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro debate immigration at Univision on April 15, 2014.
Sen. Dan Patrick, r, and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro debate immigration at Univision on April 15, 2014.
Credit texastribune.org

With the Texas May primary run-off looming overhead, a Republican lieutenant governor candidate is being held-- feet to the fire.  Rep. Dan Patrick answered the social media challenge of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, where Castro called the senator the “most anti-immigrant Republican running for office,” according to a recent article from The Texas Tribune.

Patrick happily agreed to the debate, which covered a range of topics, including immigration.  Patrick emphasized his compassion for those who cross the U.S. border illegally.

“I don’t like to see the exploitation of people crossing the border,” said Patrick, who is favored to win a May primary runoff against incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.  The winner will face San Antonio Democrat Leticia Van de Putte in November. “It is not right for a man who is crossing this border with his family to see his daughter or wife raped at midnight by a coyote," he added. "It is not right to come to America on the back of an 18-wheeler.”

Castro accused Patrick of playing politics.  Castro pointed out that the state senator’s tone heading into the March primary is completely opposite of what he said during the debate.  At that time, Patrick made comments referring to the influx of undocumented immigrants from Mexico as an "illegal invasion" — and his references to the diseases he said they bring with them — drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.

“You’ve been huffing and puffing on the campaign trail like the Big Bad Wolf and now you are tiptoeing around like Little Red Riding Hood,” Castro said.

The San Antonio mayor also cautioned against what he called the "radical departure" Patrick's views represented, saying they went against the "reasonable" immigration policy advanced by state leaders of both parties for two decades.

"Your numbers are wrong, your policies are wrong and you're wrong for Texas," Castro said. 

The debate was broadcast on the Spanish-language TV station Univision, and was moderated by Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith.