Speakers focused on the Affordable Care Act — more commonly known as Obamacare — and a potential attack on Syria when tossing questions at Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, at a town hall meeting in Waco on Tuesday.
The crowd seemed satisfied with most of Flores’ stances except when he started to talk about immigration reform.
Hosted by McLennan Community College, Flores attempted to glean information from his constituents through raised-hand surveys, while providing them with information on his views on health care, Syria and immigration reform.
The representative noted the country’s immigration system is broken, but said it can’t begin to be fixed until the U.S. secures its borders.
Flores said he would not vote for comprehensive immigration-reform legislation that passed the Senate in June, supported by a bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators, because he isn’t convinced a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants is best.
Flores said he thinks a streamlined path to citizenship for those who came into the country illegally is cheating those who have endured the process of achieving their citizenship legally.
In spite of a shouting crowd, Flores said he supports a probationary status in which illegal immigrants would earn their right to a green card by paying back taxes and fines. But that wasn’t enough for the crowd.
About 20 people in the crowd wore green T-shirts emblazoned with “Do something now!” in support of a quick, earned path to citizenship.
Nick and Eloisa Haynes, of Waco, were disappointed with Flores’ comments.
Eloisa Haynes moved to America in 1996 and has been working on getting her citizenship for six years.
She would like an earned, streamlined path to citizenship and judicial discretion for special cases. She is unsure when she will be cleared for citizenship.
“There’s no ending path for it,” she said.
Gabriela Gatlin, of Waco, said she came wearing her green shirt — not the traditional red or blue used by political parties — because she wanted Flores to know that immigration is a bipartisan issue.
Flores also reiterated his wish to defund the health care law, but said he does not support shutting down the federal government to accomplish this goal.
Some Republicans see an upcoming vote on a continuing resolution — a spending bill to keep the government running — as an opportunity to take a stand on defunding the health care law. Some conservatives have suggested not passing the resolution if it provides funds for the health care law in any way.
Flores said trying to convince wavering senators to vote to repeal the act would be more effective than threatening the paychecks of military men and women or other services Americans have come to rely on.
Flores also was critical of a potential U.S.-led attack on Syria.
He assured listeners that he did not support another attack in the Middle East because the present administration hasn’t managed the current and past crises overseas well, he said.
He also said he doesn’t think it is in the best interest of the country to intervene, unless Syria attacks Israel.