The Dallas Morning News reports on a bombshell of an announcement that was broken late last night by the paper as well as KTRK (Channel 13) in Houston. State Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston), a candidate in the Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor, has taken some notoriety for being aggressively anti-immigrant. In fact, he regularly uses the phrase “invasion” to talk about the travel of undocumented immigrants into this country. Of course, net migration from Mexico stands at zero, but I suppose that is neither here nor there. Accordingly, it was big deal last night when the Morning News noted that Sen. Patrick has a history of hiring undocumented immigrants as employees.
The Morning News confirmed that, back in the 1980s, at least four undocumented immigrants were hired by Sen. Patrick. Furthermore, Sen. Patrick was alleged to be a very gracious and compassionate employer to these individuals, later even vouching for them as they applied for citizenship. It is worth noting, of course, that employing undocumented immigrants was not a criminal offense at that time as it is today.
Sen. Patrick was even alleged to have offered help to one of the undocumented immigrants –Mike Andrade– in sneaking back into the country after visiting an ailing family member back home in Guatemala. In response, the Senator unequivocally denied Andrade’s accusations pertaining to him reentering the country. “Mr. Andrade’s allegation that I offered to break federal law in order to help him is an outrageous lie,” Sen. Patrick said.
I think the accusation that Sen. Patrick treated the undocumented immigrant like –you know– a human being might ultimately be the most damning. Sen. Patrick has made traction in this primary saying that anyone who crosses the border illegally is some sort of hardened criminal. Appearing conciliatory and kindhearted towards such an individual might be a wound from which he may not recover.
This announcement came to light as a result of a private investigator that Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, another candidate in the Lieutenant Governor primary, had hired to tail Sen. Patrick. Patterson, who has been lagging in the polls, no doubt has used these accusations as some sort of last-ditch effort to dislodge his opponent from a tentative advancement into the runoff. The irony, of course, is that if there were any candidate who would acknowledge the humanity of an undocumented immigrant, it probably would have been Patterson.
The Houston Chronicle now reports that Patterson has continued laying into Sen. Patrick, and has formally accused him of having far more undocumented immigrants in his employment over the years. “There are more shoes to drop. There are more gentlemen who weren’t legal who are going to come out and say they worked for Patrick after 1986 when hiring illegals became illegal,” said Patterson.
The news are drew harsh rebukes out of the two other candidates: incumbent Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. In particular, Staples released a statement that appeared to just pile onto all of the grievances he had with Sen. Patrick’s candidacy, including his history of bankruptcy. “The fact that Dan Patrick knowingly hired illegal immigrants to work at his sports bar, his personal bankruptcy in which he failed to pay his debts, his years of tax liens, and lawsuits for failure to pay property taxes disqualifies him from running for Lieutenant Governor,” said Staples.
A spokesperson for Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst went further, specifically denying the Lieutenant Governor had ever knowingly hired an undocumented immigrant.
For what it is worth, perhaps the bigger scandal is how upset people are at all this. The original undocumented immigrant in question, Andrade, has since become both a United States Citizen and a very productive member of society. His son is now serving his country in the US Army. If anything, this would be a great tale about how undocumented immigrants are not lawless monsters seeking to undermine the fabric of American society. This only reinforces my belief in more open borders.
This view has been concurred to by the editorial section of The Dallas Morning News. “Embrace your humanity,” they said. Embrace it indeed.
Big Jolly Politics has more.