Texas Republican Dan Patrick is continuing to deny knowingly employing undocumented workers in the 1980s, after a former employee produced a letter allegedly signed by Patrick that was used to support his request for citizenship.
Patrick's hardline immigration stance is the centerpiece of his Republican primary campaign for Texas Lt. Governor. The revelation last week that Patrick employed at least four undocumented workers at his sports bars in the 1980s has provided fodder for Patrick’s conservative opponents, who have used it to paint Patrick as a hypocrite.
A former employee, Miguel Andrade, told the Dallas Morning News last week that he had worked for Patrick in the 1980s as a dishwasher and cook while he was undocumented. Andrade says Patrick knew about his immigration status and he came forward because he disagreed with Patrick’s harsh stance on immigration, which contrasted with his kindness as an employer.
Patrick denied knowing about Andrade’s status when he hired him.
Intent on proving his point, Andrade traveled to Mexico to recover a handwritten letter on Dan and Nick’s Sports Market letterhead and allegedly signed by Patrick, the Houston Chronicle reports. Though Andrade says he used it to support his citizenship claim, the letter states only his dates of employment and does not refer to his migration status, according to the Associated Press.
Andrade normalized his status following the 1986 immigration reform signed by Ronald Reagan.
Patrick Spokesman Allen Blakemore told the Houston Chronicle that Patrick had reviewed the letter and “maintains unequivocally that the letter bears no resemblance to his handwriting.”
Andrade was found by a private investigator hired by Patrick’s primary opponent, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.
The conservative candidate for lieutenant governor has warned repeatedly of a “Mexican invasion,” though net migration from Mexico dropped to approximately zero in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, according to the Pew Hispanic Trends Project. In Texas, the unauthorized population has grown modestly since then, from 1.55 million to 1.75 million -- not all of whom are Mexican.