Issues

IMMIGRATION

immigration issues enrique garcia for congress

Let’s begin by stopping all the rhetoric about immigration reform.  How can someone reform immigration if they don’t know how it really works in the first place.  It’s like asking an electrician to conduct a heart transplant or asking a doctor to rewire a home.

A wall, no matter how tall or how long, will not solve the immigration problem.  A wall is like putting a band-aid on an injury that needs stitches.  There are three types of immigrants, those who are trying to be reunited with their loved ones, those who are trying to improve or save their lives, and those with criminal backgrounds.  The first two types of immigrants are the majority.

A huge misconception is that an immigrant does not pay taxes.  Most immigrants do pay taxes and the majority of them obtain ITINs from the IRS to file their taxes.

Washington needs someone who truly understands the Immigration laws of our country.  Obtaining legal status in our country is not as easy as filling out an application.  In fact, our Immigration system is more of a referral system than an application system.  If you don’t have a spouse, parent or child who can request legal status for the immigrant, the immigrant is not coming in.  To prevent illegal immigration, immigrants should be given the opportunity to apply to come to our country AND allow our country to do an extensive background check on them before being allowed in.  Under my proposal, our Social Security system (which we are told will run out in the near future) and our Medicare system will benefit tremendously.

Immigration reform must also include reasonable punishments that fit the crime. For example, what person, immigrant or not, would like to be separated from their family for 10 years for getting a traffic ticket? Exactly!! If a father, with no criminal history, came illegally into the U.S. and stayed with his family for over a year, he would be barred from coming back to the U.S. to be with his family for 10 years.  This type of punishment will encourage illegal immigration rather than deter it.

How does all this affect EI Paso and our nation?  We, the taxpayers, must pump more money into a system that does not work, the repercussions are not understood, and the problem remains unsolved.  A system that works for all will lift the negative stigma that Washington and the rest of the nation has of El Paso.  Let’s not forget not long ago, Attorney General Sessions came to our doorstep to remind us that El Paso ­was “ground zero”.  Washington’s solutions to the “ground zero” problems: build a wall, have ICE raids at schools, malls and courthouses, deport Dreamers, implement travel bans based on religion, and incite states to implement laws such as the SB4 law – pitting local law enforcement with citizens and destroying years of trust.

BUSINESS

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NAFTA is an integral part of our nation’s success as well as that of El Paso. Texas is one of the states that actually has a trade surplus with Mexico thanks to that trade agreement. During the economic recession of 2008, El Paso was able to survive and bounce back due to NAFTA. International trade with Mexico has ensured El Paso’s success in the global economy and has provided jobs in globalization and information technology. We must support the continuation of this trade agreement because it is essential to the prosperity and success of El Paso. We cannot forget that Mexico is our closest neighbor and we must protect the interest of El Paso for the well-being of our citizens.

We have top notch universities in El Paso and now we must attract businesses that can allow us to retain the talent that we produce instead of losing them to other cities and helping them grow. We must actively recruit new innovative and high-tech industries that will be relevant in the future and that will provide competitive wages for the community. Technology has improved manufacturing, thus utilizing less labor to produce the same amount of goods. Although we cannot tum back time on technology, we must instead embrace it and look for industries that focus on new innovative technologies that will make El Paso the mecca for these types of companies.

We must unite the municipalities and act as team. We must remember that we are only as strong as our weakest link, so if a municipality needs assistance in attracting a business to our region, we must assist. By doing so, it means more jobs and disposable income for our region, no matter the location.

FORT BLISS

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As the nation’s second largest Army installation, Fort Bliss is an essential part of our nation’s defense.  Fort Bliss serves and supports all branches of the military and provides both economic and intangible benefits ranging from training troops and maintaining military equipment to caring for our wounded and overseeing defense contracts.  With the situation of current world event coupled with the political climate in Washington, it is very unlikely that Fort Bliss will be downsized anytime soon.  However, let us not forget that not too long ago, Fort Bliss was a base that was being considered for downsizing and budget cuts which would have been a disastrous blow to the economic success and survival of El Paso.  Thus, we must always be prepared to make Fort Bliss an indispensable part of our country’s defense as well as that of our community.

According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and Fort Bliss, Fort Bliss is the single largest employer in the region, creating an estimated annual disposable personal income of approximately $8.2 billion. Fort Bliss has direct employment of approximately 40,844 and direct and indirect employment of about 135,610 people.  Approximately one out of every five people in EI Paso County is employed with Ft. Bliss.  Without question, Fort Bliss is a significant employer for EI Paso County and a major economic driver for the Upper Rio Grande Region.

Our veterans must also be taken care of properly and efficiently. We must continue to address the clinical staffing shortages and unacceptable wait times that our veterans have to endure when seeking medical assistance. We must offer our veterans quality and efficient medical health care to prevent any tragic consequences that can result from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, suicide and substance abuse. The VA should refer care to our community while it works to consolidate its national programs and improve system integration between the branches of military service.

HEALTHCARE

Health Care Issues Enrique Garcia for Congress

The health care system in the United States is indisputably broken.  Proposed fixes are presumed but in order to fix the system successfully we must first understand how, why and where it’s broken.  There is no doubt that repealing the American Health Care Act (i.e. Obamacare) is a top priority for this administration.  The majority of politicians in Washington are not considering the consequences that it will have on families that rely on Obamacare if it is taken away.  There are people today that never had healthcare and could not afford it until Obamacare was implemented.  Sure, Obamacare is not perfect, but it’s a start to what needs to be done to provide healthcare for our citizens.  Due to the uncertainty of what is to “replace” Obamacare, many providers have dropped out of the program, thus creating monopolies that drive the costs up.

When Social Security was implemented, the only people that truly benefited immediately from that program were the people who did not pay into the system. Social Security in its infancy might not have been popular, just like Obamacare, but it was necessary for some of our citizens. The Social Security system was first implemented and then it was modified to what it is today so that it does what was intended.

Similarly, Obamacare should not be repealed but modified to allow various providers to participate in the program to drive costs down.  We have to make the system competitive between providers so that no one company can monopolize the system.

The U.S. is the only advanced country that puts its people’s lives at the mercy of corporate barracudas like Martin Shkreli, the infamous “pharma bro” who purchased patents to lifesaving drugs and then hiked their prices to outrageous levels.  We should utilize existing federal laws that allow Washington to sidestep drug patents in the interests of public good which will reduce costs to medication exponentially, thus reducing healthcare costs.  Another problem with healthcare in our country is that we pay inflated prices for healthcare because Washington does not intervene to protect ALL its citizens.

One problem with the Republican plan is that it promises to reduce the price of insurance, and it may for some people, but it won’t make a difference in the overall price of health care, because it doesn’t deal with the profit-driven nature of the system.  These profit-focused aspects of health care do not improve care but make it worse because they focus on revenue generation rather than on patients.  We should use government controls to balance the generation of revenue (Le. reining in health care profits) and the costs of meeting the patient’s true needs.  Getting cheaper insurance is not a health care bargain when it endangers one’s life.