North Texas Daily

Opinion: Dan Patrick is anti-immigrant, anti-Texas

Opinion: Dan Patrick is anti-immigrant, anti-Texas

Opinion: Dan Patrick is anti-immigrant, anti-Texas
March 18
01:06 2014
When I was in seventh grade, I was required to take a course in Texas history. I learned about our heroes and how they fought and died valiantly at the Alamo in San Antonio.

I learned about the formation of our state government and our eventual annexation into the United States in 1845.

I learned of our state’s culture and the willingness with which we have accepted figures like Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and Sam Houston and countless others as our own, despite the fact that they were technically immigrants.

State senator Dan Patrick of Houston, who is running for lieutenant governor, has apparently forgotten that or he is willingly ignoring Texas history.

He ran on a strong anti-immigrant campaign that attempted to rile up a nativist reaction to foreign people.

The problem? It worked.

According to the Texas Tribune’s data tracking, Patrick received 41.5 percent of the Texan GOP vote. Lt. Governor David Dewhurst drew enough votes with 28.3 percent to force a runoff election in May.

But Patrick holds a 27 percent lead among likely run-off voters, according to a Baselice & Associates poll, meaning that he will likely be the new lieutenant governor of Texas.

Among the promises Patrick made in regard to immigration, the first issue that is explained on the campaign’s website, are ending in-state tuition for “illegal” immigrants, protecting the ability of local law enforcement officers to inquire about the legal status of someone in custody and several other issues that federal law already tackles.

In 2001, Texas became the first state in the U.S. to allow undocumented college students to pay public college tuition at the same rate as regular citizens.

State senator Leticia Van de Putte, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, wrote in an October 2013 Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial that the bill she sponsored in 2001 passed with bipartisan support because it made financial sense.


Van de Putte wrote that the state already invests money educating undocumented students in public schools, so why not provide some incentive for them to go to college and become productive citizens?

“Given these numbers, should we waste time fighting over less than 1 percent of the college-going population while 100 percent of Texans struggle with droughts and fight to prevent our roads from being turned to gravel?” Van De Putte wrote. “We must put emotions aside and do what is best for Texas’ dream — to be the greatest state in the nation. Basic math shows us that the Texas Dream Act can help us get there.”

The rest of Patrick’s anti-immigrant promises, like prohibiting sanctuary cities and allowing police officers to inquire about a person’s legal status, focus on making the lives of undocumented immigrants and non-white residents more difficult.

Why do this to people who contribute to Texas’ economic standing?

Undocumented immigrants contribute in three major ways to Texas’ economy: jobs, taxes and economic output.

In 2010, undocumented immigrants made up nine percent of the Texas workforce, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

Also in 2010, undocumented immigrants paid $1.6 billion in state and local taxes, according to the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.

If Patrick’s dream came true and all undocumented immigrants were thrown out of the state, he probably wouldn’t like the result.

An analysis by the Perryman Group revealed that if all undocumented immigrants were removed from the state, Texas would lose $69.3 billion in economic activity and about 403,000 jobs.

The bigger problem here is that Patrick has used the term conservative as a pseudonym for xenophobia. In every advertisement that he says “A conservative second,” Patrick is conveying the message that his ideas are designed to target a specific group of people as the “bad” ones.

If Patrick actually wanted to preserve the Texas mindset, he would not be directing his political ire toward undocumented immigrants because they came here for a better life, just like Crockett and Houston emigrated from Virginia and Tennessee, respectively.

What I learned in seventh grade is still true. Texas can be the best state in the Union, but it cannot remain in the uniformly “conservative” mindset that swept the south after 2008.

Obed Manuel is a journalism senior. He can be reached at

Center photo: Texas State Senator Leticia Van de Putte  opens the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, Wednesday, August 27, 2008. Photo courtesy of Brian Baer/Sacramento Bee/MCT 

Feature photo: Dan Patrick outside the capitol building in Austin, Tx. Photo courtesy of Dan Patrick’s Facebook page. 

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