AUSTIN (KXAN) — Republican Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick made waves following an interview on Fox News in which he claimed Democrats are allowing undocumented migrants into the U.S. to secure a future voting majority.
Patrick presented his theory — often aligned with far-right extremism — during a Thursday night appearance on “The Ingraham Angle,” calling the influx of migrants a part of a “silent revolution.”
“…in 18 years, if every one of (the migrants) has two or three children, you’re talking about millions and millions and millions of new voters. And they will thank the Democrats and Biden for bringing them here,” Patrick said.
“Who do you think they’re going to vote for?” he added.
KXAN spoke with two academics. Both said the topic of Latino voters is nuanced.
“Latinx immigrants, they care about bread-and-butter economic issues, and they perceive that Democrats offer policies that would relatively benefit their economic interest,” said Marcel Roman with the University of Texas at Austin’s government department.
Roman studies Latino political behavior and was part of a post-2016 election study at the University of California Los Angeles that included about 3,000 Latino respondents.
The study found roughly 60 percent of foreign-born Latinos lean Democratic, with 20 percent leaning toward Republican ideology, and 20 percent leaning Independent.
Roman told KXAN the numbers remain basically unchanged when it comes to first and second general U.S.-born children of immigrants.
“That data also shows that on average, Latinos are much more likely to be contacted and mobilized by Democratic Party officials and canvassers,” Roman said.
But that does not guarantee Latinos will always vote Democratic.
“There’s nothing intrinsic to the character of Latinx immigrants that makes them predisposed to support Democrats,” Roman said.
That idea is backed up by data gathered by the Texas Politics Project which conducts statewide polling of registered voters.
“Republicans have been increasingly competitive with Latino voters, particularly in Texas where statewide candidates have received 40 percent or more of the Latino vote,” director John Henson told KXAN.
“The predicates and assumptions of political behavior among immigrant groups doesn’t have much of a foundation,” he said.