Congressman Joe Barton received applause for Ellis County residents at a town hall meeting Wednesday for his stance against U.S. involvement in Syria, but couldn't quell the audience's frustration with his answers about immigration law reform.
After handing out information on topics such as the national debt and deficit, federal budget, fuel costs, the National Security Agency leak, ObamaCare, immigration law and proposed reform, he laid those issues aside and voiced his intention to vote against any congressional approval for a military strike against Syria.
“I will no next week if a resolution comes to the House,” Barton said. “I don't believe the civil war in Syria is a threat to the U.S. I don't see any national security issues or what the national strategic issues are for the U.S. to send our military men and women to Syria.”
He informed the audience that President Barack Obama is able to attack Syria with military forces through the War Powers Act, “which I believe is unconstitutional,” he said.
“In my opinion, this is about politics,” Barton said of Obama's solicitation of congressional approval for military action against Syria.
Then he asked for questions from the local residents gathered at the Waxahachie City Hall, the majority of whom only wanted to discuss one issue – immigration law reform.
“I've had illegal immigrants come up an talk to me after some of my town hall meetings. Most of them I've spoken to want to be legal residents. They're tired of living in the shadows and are hoping for a fair system that allows them to continue working in the U.S.,” Barton said.
Barton fielded several questions about the E-Verify employment verification system and varying aspects of increasing enforcement of current immigration laws.
“I will not vote for the Senate bill (S. 744),” Barton said, adding that he would support a bill to provide a fair and legal way for immigrants to become U.S. citizens and part of the work force, while offering citizenship to children born in the U.S.
To the question of splitting up families of natural born citizens and illegal immigrant parents, Barton said it would be the choice of the natural born citizens to go back with their parents or stay in the U.S.
“I think we can all agree that the current law is broken,” Barton said, to which the many in the audience voiced a resounding “No, it's not enforced.”
“I believe everyone in here has an idea of what to do, but I would say most of you could work out an agreement,” Barton said. “This is a pretty homogenous group here that could work together. At the federal level there are three million people who do not agree.”
One audience members said asked about Obama's disregard for the constitution, “rewriting laws and usurping the authority of Congress.”
“Because of the checks and balances in the federal government, it takes time,” Barton said in response to questions about impeachment. “The fastest way you can make a change is at the ballot box.”
He said that though the federal government has grown over the past 200 years, steadily stealing power from “We the People,” the American public still had the ultimate power through casting their vote.
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