By Jack Fink

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Republican lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick has long made border security his number one campaign priority. “We have to secure the border,” he has said. This is especially true now, Patrick added, as a flood of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America overwhelms the border.

Patrick has proposed a state crackdown on illegal immigrants. “We can’t get bogged down now on everything else. That will have to happen after the border is secured,” he said. “Right now, we have to secure the border to stop this.”

The candidate’s Democratic opponent is now weighing in with her thoughts. Leticia Van de Putte has been touring the border this week, and has released a plan of her own for protecting the Texas border. “We’ve got to have a secure border,” she explained. “First of all, holding Washington, D.C. accountable, increasing the amount of Border Patrol agents we have, and not just by an arbitrary number.”

Van de Putte also supports a state temporary worker permit program.

Both of the candidates believe that their plans can help deal with the vast number of problems along the state’s southern border. But at least one immigration expert disagrees. Francisco Hernandez is an immigration attorney and advocate. He stated that neither plan will work because they do not stop the flow of illegal immigrants coming into Texas.

“It’s pandering,” Hernandez said.

The Fort Worth attorney represents illegal immigrants. He said that the flow of immigrants will not stop until conditions improve in their home countries. “Candidates can say all they want,” Hernandez said. “They’re going to start something in January to try to pass something that will be effective in September? They’re trying to get votes — both of them. There’s not a thing they can do.”

Patrick responded to the criticism. “All these people,” he said, “all this psycho babble. ‘Well, we really can’t do anything about it.’ Yes, we can.”

Van de Putte responded as well. “We may not be able to stop that as a state,” she admitted. “But that’s why I think it’s important for us to look at the package the President has put together, working with those countries in Central America.”

Both candidates agree that the parties in our nation’s capital need to step up.

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