Conservative state senator and lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro held their long awaited debate on immigration reform last night, and it resulted in both sides delivering applause lines designed to appeal to their base, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The hour long debate has been in the planning stages for months, since Castro criticized Patrick on Twitter for claiming that undocumented immigrants are 'invading' Texas and bring 'third world diseases' to the Texas Mexico border.
"We are about to celebrate San Jacinto Day, but Texas is not being invaded by Mexico, I can assure you of that," Castro said.
Castro compared Patrick's stance on immigration to that of nineties California Governor Pete Wilson, whose hard line stand on immigration is frequently blamed for turning California from a competitive state to a reliably Democratic bastion.
"You are the Pete Wilson of Texas," Castro said. "You have talked about immigrants bringing third world diseases included leprosy and polio to Texas, you have said that we are seeing an invasion of illegal immigrants from Mexico."
Patrick’s' comments were blasted by both parties, but he said he was just reading from statistics provided by the Texas State Department of Health Services.
Castro wasn't buying it.
"You have talked most recently that these immigrants represent a threat to Texas businesses and the Texas families," Castro said. "That is not the kind of tone or the kind of substance that I believe is fitting for a Lieutenant Governor.
Patrick said much of his opposition to illegal immigration comes from his concern about the immigrants themselves.
"I don’t' like to see the exploitation of people who are crossing this border," Patrick said. "It is not right for a man who is crossing this border with his family to see his daughter or wife raped by a coyote at midnight. It is not right to come to this country in the back of an eighteen wheeler."
To which Castro replied.
"You have been huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf, and now you're huffing and puffing like Little Red Riding Hood on this issue."
Patrick said both parties are guilty of supporting immigration reform for their own selfish ends, and not out of concern for the U.S. economy or the immigrants themselves.
"Republicans, some of them, want cheap labor, and Democrats are interested in future voters," he said.
After the debate, Castro sent out an e-mail to supporters asking for money.
"We did it," the mailing said. "Dan Patrick found out what it means to mess with Texas tonight. Thank you for helping me hold Dan Patrick accountable for his toxic and extremist rhetoric toward immigration. Will you stand with me again and send one last message by contributing $10 so he remembers what happens when you mess with Texas?"