Prominent Texas figures in the debate over the country's immigration policies took their dispute from Twitter to the airwaves on Tuesday, facing off in person for audiences on the Internet and Spanish-language television.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Republican state Sen. Dan Patrick debated Tuesday evening in Univision's San Antonio studios. Notable by his absence was Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, whom the tea-party favorite Patrick is challenging in a May 27 GOP primary and who trails Patrick by most reckonings. The nominee will face state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio and the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor.
There was no new ground staked out by the antagonists.
Castro advocates granting legal residency to young people who were brought into the U.S. by their parents without papers. On Tuesday, he chastised Patrick for his comments about an "illegal invasion from Mexico" and contention that immigrants bring such "third-world diseases" into the country as leprosy, tuberculosis, malaria and polio. He also accused Patrick of trying to conceal his views by softened-up rhetoric on the issue going into the runoff and November general election.
"You've been huffing and puffing on the campaign trail like the Big Bad Wolf, and now you are tip-toeing around like Little Red Riding Hood," Castro said.
Patrick denied trying to conceal anything about his hard-line views, however, such as seeking repeal of in-state tuition prices for young immigrants and denying those brought at young ages illegally into the country any path to U.S. citizenship.
The Houston radio talk show host continued to dismiss any easing of immigration policies until he and his supporters deem the border with Mexico to be secure. He also said that allowing any immigrant in the country illegally a path to legal residency and U.S. citizenship would be an affront to those immigrants who entered the nation legally, would be unfair to U.S. citizens and would mean more dependence on federal resources to make it work.