Social Security official criticized immigration "diversity agenda" and praised police officers who beat Rodney King

Social Security official criticized immigration "diversity agenda" and praised police officers who beat Rodney King

Robert W. Patterson: "The entire video reveals the officers putting themselves in harm’s way to restrain King when they could have just shot him"

Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Social Security Administration official Robert W. Patterson wrote a 2014 Breitbart News piece that lauded the police officers who beat Rodney King, claiming that "the entire video reveals the officers putting themselves in harm’s way to restrain King when they could have just shot him. For that restraint, the cops were subject to relentless prosecution." 

In commentary pieces elsewhere, he attacked the “diversity agenda” of U.S. immigration law that, he said, has led to “millions of foreigners from the Muslim Middle East and dysfunctional Third World countries” coming into the United States. Patterson also claimed that “hordes of Central American migrants” are threatening public health.

Patterson is the acting associate commissioner at the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Office of Strategic and Digital Communications. The SSA touted his experience when he was hired, calling attention to his background as an “op-ed contributor” and alleged "policy expert." 

Media Matters previously reported that Patterson argued against contraceptives because “condom use robs” women of the “remarkable chemicals” in semen; said married women in the workplace have undermined society; and suggested that homosexuality is a mental disorder and sexual orientation can be forcibly changed. 

The SSA did not respond to a request for comment.

In reviewing more of Patterson's writing, Media Matters found other problematic commentary, this time related to police brutality against Rodney King and racist tropes related to migration and immigration. Here are those remarks. 

Patterson defended police officers who beat Rodney King: “The entire video reveals the officers putting themselves in harm’s way to restrain King when they could have just shot him.” Patterson wrote an August 2014 piece for Breitbart in which he decried protests in Ferguson, MO, after the police shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Patterson linked the protests to the 1991 Rodney King beating, writing:

Indeed, media kingpins, who handle Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson with kid gloves, are on a constant witch-hunt for another Rodney King video. That nine-minute tape, too, is instructive: The only clip the media played in 1991 – over and over – was 20 seconds that framed the cops as the bad guys. Yet the entire video reveals the officers putting themselves in harm’s way to restrain King when they could have just shot him. For that restraint, the cops were subject to relentless prosecution, once for assault in state court (for which they were acquitted), and once again for violating King’s civil rights in federal court (for which they were found guilty).

As NPR noted, police officers "kicked him repeatedly and beat him with batons for a reported 15 minutes" and “King's injuries resulted in skull fractures, broken bones and teeth, and permanent brain damage.”

Patterson complained about the “diversity agenda” of U.S. immigration law because it has helped bring intens of millions of foreigners from the Muslim Middle East and dysfunctional Third World countries.” In an August 2014 op-ed for The Washington Times, Patterson criticized “the wildly misnamed Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986” for having kept “the doors wide open for tens of millions of foreigners from the Muslim Middle East and dysfunctional Third World countries” and having “extended the diversity agenda of the Immigration Act of 1965, an overlooked component of LBJ's Great Society.”

Congress had appointed the commission to correct the abject failure of the wildly misnamed Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Regarded by Ronald Reagan as the worst mistake of his presidency, the legislation conferred citizenship on 3 million illegals in exchange for phantom enforcement. In keeping the doors wide open for tens of millions of foreigners from the Muslim Middle East and dysfunctional Third World countries, the measure extended the diversity agenda of the Immigration Act of 1965, an overlooked component of LBJ’s Great Society.

As the Migration Policy Institute noted, “The historic significance of the 1965 law was to repeal national-origins quotas, in place since the 1920s, which had ensured that immigration to the United States was primarily reserved for European immigrants.”

Patterson: “Hordes of Central American migrants overburden public-school districts and escalate public health and safety risks.” In a September 2014 op-ed for The Washington Times, Patterson claimed that there’s a “flood of illegals” coming into the United States and as a result, “hordes of Central American migrants overburden public-school districts and escalate public health and safety risks.”

All Republicans would promise to counter the president's open-borders craziness with legislation that would elevate the imperative of national security, step up border enforcement, and fully reverse the flood of illegals into America. With the Islamic State eager to fly its ominous flag over the White House — and as hordes of Central American migrants overburden public-school districts and escalate public health and safety risks — such defensive measures would resonate with anxious voters of both parties. The measure might also impose an emergency moratorium on all guest-worker permits while showing the door to all noncitizens whose visas and green cards have expired.

His claim about migrants and "public health" is a xenophobic trope. It is also false; CNN recently reported that conservative rhetoric "might lead some to believe that migrants are a threat to American health, a strain on the health care system and damaging to the economy. But a new series of papers presented at a UN Intergovernmental Conference this week and published Wednesday in the journal Lancet says that, based on evidence, that's not true. Most migrants have a mortality advantage, or greater life expectancy, than people in their host countries, according to the new research. This was true for the majority of diseases."

Patterson’s lack of knowledge about such issues became apparent when he was running for Congress in 2016 as a Republican. The Courier Post in South New Jersey reported on October 26 of that year: “On the question of Syrian refugees, Patterson called for additional vetting, but when told there was already a two-year process in place, he admitted, ‘You’re teaching me something there.’” (The claim that the United States doesn’t screen Syrian refugees is a common right-wing media lie.)

Posted In
Race & Ethnicity, Immigration
Show/Publication
The Washington Times, Breitbart News
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