Texas Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s latest attempt to gin up anti-immigrant fervor borrows from a familiar playbook.
On Tuesday, Patrick appeared on Fox News to fearmonger over migrants who’ve been apprehended at the border. Despite border apprehensions being a sign that U.S. immigration enforcement is working — at least on some level — Patrick used data on apprehensions to suggest America is facing an “invasion.” He then used that exaggerated, wartime language to justify violence against immigrants (in his words, “putting hands on people”) and compares migrants seeking refuge and a better life in the United States to Pearl Harbor, one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the nation’s history.
Listen to his lunacy here:
In just over two minutes, Patrick mentions his desire to “put hands on people” on three separate occasions. This isn't accidental. As I wrote last year, prominent conservatives have been calling for officials to categorize immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border as an “invasion” in order to allow officials to treat migrants with the same violence and force they might treat an enemy combatant. It’s a disgusting theory that gained momentum on the fringes of the conservative movement but has made its way into the mainstream.
Republicans like Patrick want Americans to fear non-white immigrants coming to the United States, and they use cribbed reports and statistics to invent an imminent threat. In the video above, for example, he claims a United Nations report that found the U.S.-Mexico border is one of the deadliest in the world provides grounds for more violent conduct toward immigrants.
The problem with that?
The U.S.-Mexico border was named one of the world’s deadliest in a recent U.N. report. But that's because it's deadliest for migrants, not Americans living in the U.S.
In other words, the report is grounds for more compassionate and accepting immigration policies — not less.
But Dan Patrick and his Texas Republican cronies won’t care.