Sen. Patrick Unfriended by Hispanic GOP Group

A national group called Somos Republicans, which recruits Latinos into the GOP, removed Republican state Sen. Dan Patrick from its “Hispanic-Friendly” list today. Patrick was struck from the list after filing several anti-immigration bills this session. Patrick’s legislation mimics recently passed Arizona anti-immigration bills.

Lauro Garza, the Texas state director for Somos Republicans, said he’d heard some encouraging things from Patrick over the summer, including his possible support for the DREAM Act, which would give undocumented university students a pathway to citizenship. “We heard some good things from him in support of Hispanics and thought we should encourage him by giving him a Hispanic-Friendly rating,” says “Instead it turns out he backstabbed us with these bills.”

Garza says the text for the bills comes from an organization called the State Legislators for Legal Immigration, which is a front organization founded partially by Dr. John Tanton.  The physician from Michigan is a controversial figure to say the least. Tanton started out as a committed environmentalist in the sixties and seventies and was a leader of the National Audubon Society and Sierra Club. Tanton, however, became fixated on the planet becoming overcrowded. He began focusing on anti-immigration measures and has become the founding father of the modern anti-immigration movement. Tanton has helped create and fund over a dozen anti-immigration groups including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which was designated a hate group by the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center.

Between 1985 and 1994, FAIR accepted $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, which was labeled a neo-Nazi organization because of its promotion of eugenics and racial superiority, according to the SPLC.

Do you think free access to journalism like this is important?
The Texas Observer depends on support from its members to keep telling stories like the one you are reading now. This fall we're looking for 200 more sustaining members—people like you who can give us as little as $0.99 per month. Your membership means we can continue shedding light on issues that might otherwise go unreported. Can we count on you?

Melissa del Bosque is a staff writer and a 2016-17 Lannan Fellow at The Investigative Fund.