MISSION, RGV – In a speech Friday in Mission, state Sen. Dan Patrick, the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, said he supported the deployment of the National Guard along the Texas-Mexico border.
Speaking to supporters at the Riverside Club, right alongside the Rio Grande in Mission, the Houston Republican acknowledged that it is the governor’s call to make, not the lieutenant governor’s. However, he said if he was lieutenant governor already he would want the National Guard to be a component of his border security plan.
“As lieutenant governor, I am going to fund a 365-day a year, 24/7 increase in security because they (the drug and human smuggling operations) are crossing the border 365, 24/7. We need more than a surge,” Patrick said, in answer to a question about what the State of Texas is doing to protect the border.
“We are now spending about a million (dollars) a week (on border security), roughly, which I totally had asked for and supported, so we could do this until the end of the year and then pick it up next session. It’s technology. It’s manpower. We can’t talk about all the things we are doing because we do not want the other side to know all the things we are doing.
“I think, since Obama will not call out the National Guard, I think we are going to have to bite that bullet and if this was next year and I was lieutenant governor – it is the governor’s decision not the lieutenant governor’s – but if the Governor wants to know whether the lieutenant supports it and will help pay for it, I think we need to call out the Guard ourselves to our own border and protect it. It’s the federal government’s responsibility but it is our problem and we have to do it.”
Gov. Perry is expected to announce later today the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops on the Texas-Mexico border, most of them in the upper part of the Rio Grande Valley. The current lieutenant governor, David Dewhurst, whom Sen. Patrick defeated in the Republican Party primary, is expected to be with Perry when the Governor makes the announcement in Austin.
In his speech, Patrick said the state government does four things: educate, medicate, incarcerate and regulate. “When people cross the border it is increasing the cost of everything we do,” he said.
Patrick said getting to grips with illegal immigration was the “centerpiece” of his primary campaign.
“I was criticized for saying the border is not secure. I was criticized for saying there was a health risk (with illegal immigration). It turns out everything I said in the Julian Castro debate and everything I said in the campaign debates has turned out to be true. And now the whole country is seeing this issue,” Patrick said. He was referencing the TV debate he had on Univision with San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro earlier this year.
Patrick said South Texas residents know all about the impact of illegal immigration. He ran through some of the numbers. Between 2008 and 2012, he said, 143,000 illegal hardened criminals were arrested for 447,000 charged crimes. He said they committed 5,000 rapes and 2,000 murders.
“My No. 1 job is to protect your life, your family and your property. We as Republicans are not anti-immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants. We are not anti-Hispanic. We are not anti-anyone. We are just for law and order and not until we secure the border will Washington act,” Patrick said as the audience cheered.
Patrick said the GOP needs to believe in God and follow the principles of former President Ronald Reagan. However, he said Reagan’s decision to give amnesty to illegal immigrants in the mid-1980s was “not the right plan at the right time.” Since then, he said, neither Republicans nor Democrats in Washington, D.C., have done anything about solving illegal immigration. He said some Republicans in Washington like the status quo because they want cheap labor. He said some Democrats in Washington like the status quo because more Hispanics vote for their candidates.
“Both parties get what they want. We should not have a policy that says you should come to the U.S. on the back of an 18-wheeler or that you have to swim across the river and drown. Or that you have to be abused because you are a women or a young girl as part of the bounty to cross. What kind of nation are we? That is not a Christian policy. And when they get here what do they have, a life of living in the shadows,” Patrick said. “We can secure the border with the right funding, with the right focus. That is going to be a top priority.”
Patrick added that Border Patrol is apprehending about 6,000 to 8,000 to 10,000 illegal immigrants a week. He said if the capture rate is about one in five, then about 45,000 illegal immigrants are getting through. He said that is more than the birthrate in Texas. “For every child born here, three or four times as many coming here illegally. That cannot exist. If people can go back and forth like they used to, many decades ago, they would not be bringing their whole family here. They don’t go back because they are afraid they can’t get back or they will have to pay the cartels a second time.”
Patrick said illegal immigration is one of his top four campaign issues. The others, he said, are providing more choice for parents in inner city schools, providing greater property tax relief, and not appointing as many Democrats to the chairmanships of Senate committees.
Patrick concluded his remarks by saying Republicans have a great opportunity to make inroads into the Hispanic vote, partly because Democrats in Austin are pro-abortion.
“The night of the (Wendy Davis) filibuster, Eddie Lucio was the only Democrat who voted for our omnibus pro-life bill. He also voted for my sonogram bill two years ago. Eddie and I were sitting back. Eddie said, tonight is the last night many of my constituents vote for a Democrat again. Why? Because they didn’t realize how radical they (Democratic legislators) were on the pro-life issue,” Patrick said, noting that Wendy Davis, “lost the Valley” in her primary election.
“The Democrats have a problem because Catholic Hispanics and Evangelical Hispanics (do not support abortion),” Patrick said. He said if Republicans ever turn back their back on God he would become an Independent. “The pro-family issue is huge. The Democrats will never allow a pro-life Democrat to run for office because once the Democrats do that they lose their entire constituency.” Patrick urged the audience to help him “send Battleground Texas back to the other states.”