Tipton Town Hall Gets Heated Over Immigration, Health Care
by William Woody
Oct 31, 2013 | 3086 views | 4 4 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HOT SPOT – Laura Figueroa, third from left, with 5-year-old Evelen Baltazar and Maria and Jose Pacheco, listening to Rep. Scott Tipton during his town hall meeting Saturday at the Coffee Trader. A new political advocacy organization is targeting House Republicans with large Latino constituencies who don’t support comprehensive immigration reform. (Photo by William Woody)
HOT SPOT – Laura Figueroa, third from left, with 5-year-old Evelen Baltazar and Maria and Jose Pacheco, listening to Rep. Scott Tipton during his town hall meeting Saturday at the Coffee Trader. A new political advocacy organization is targeting House Republicans with large Latino constituencies who don’t support comprehensive immigration reform. (Photo by William Woody)
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Congressman Comes To Mountain Village Friday at 2 p.m.

MONTROSE – Laura Figueroa understands living with the fear of deportation.

She is now a proud American citizen, and for her the uncertainty is over.  But the experience of growing up an illegal immigrant in America, constantly looking over her shoulder and living life in the shadows, remains a source of hurt.

“I grew up with the pain. I lived with that pain every single day,” Figueroa said Saturday afternoon at the Coffee Trader in Montrose, where she attended a town hall meeting hosted by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton.  

“We need to fix our country,” she added. Lawmakers must focus on “the people, the 11 million” now applying for citizenship.

Tipton, a Republican, has been in office since 2010, when he unseated Democrat John Salazar. The Third Congressional District he represents covers the entire Western Slope and stretches east to incorporate the city of Pueblo.  It is a swing district, won by Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election by 51.8 percent.

Perhaps not surprisingly in the wake of a controversial government shutdown, and given Tipton’s longstanding opposition to immigration reform, his outdoors town hall at the Coffee Trader was a hot spot on a chilly late-October morning, as the constituents who attended erupted in heated partisan debate, mudslinging and an airing of suspicions.  

Supporters and opponents yelled at the Cortez Republican and at each other for about half hour.

“Why can’t you even get a bill to the floor and do your job,” one woman shouted about the political stalemate. “That’s the game you’re playing with people’s lives.”

When Tipton tried to address her she continued.

“Listen to me for once, you’ve had your time now it’s time to listen to me,” she said.

Another person shouted at Tipton that he did not want the government to be shut down.

“Don’t hold America hostage,” another cried.

Adding to the challenges Tipton faces, a new political advocacy organization, the Latino Victory Project, has pledged to oust House Republicans with sizable Latino constituencies who don’t support comprehensive immigration reform.

Figueroa, attending with her brother David and friends Jose and Maria Pacheco, Maria Gonzalez and 5-year-old Evelen Baltazar, had hoped to hear Tipton voice support for comprehensive immigration reform, and the congressman did allow that immigration reform is accomplishable.

A recent poll indicated that 77 percent of voters in Tipton’s district favor immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship for hardworking illegal immigrants, strengthening border security, and blocking employers from hiring undocumented workers.

“This is complex issue because we have to be fair and considerate to the 4.4 million people who are standing in line legally,” Tipton told The Watch after the meeting.

The Third District poll also indicated a job approval rating of 50 percent for Tipton, with 53 percent of Hispanic respondents supporting his performance in the House of Representatives.

“A guest worker program and border security … these need to be our starting places,” Tipton said.

He went on to emphasize that comprehensive bills on both immigration and health care “create real challenges on the House side” of the U.S. Congress.

TIPTON IN MOUNTAIN VILLAGE FRIDAY

Tipton said he and his staff have held “numerous” town hall meetings – 18 so far, with a meeting scheduled for Friday, Nov. 1, at 2 p.m. in Mountain Village Town Council chambers, above Mountain Market – and worked closely with House leadership to draft immigration legislation similar to a bill passed earlier this year by the Senate.

Last week, President Barack Obama said he wants Congress to finalize an immigration bill before the end of the year. Tipton said that with bipartisan work, the President’s deadline for passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation is attainable.

“It may not be in the framework exactly of what the President would like to see,” Tipton told The Watch, “but we need to have Congress actually roll up its sleeves and get to work so we are not dealing with the same issue twenty years down the road.”

The Senate passed the roughly 1,200-page bill on June 27. It lays the groundwork for overhauling the country’s immigration laws for the first time since 1986, creating a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented residents, streamlining a guest-worker visa program and strengthening security along the U.S.-Mexican border.

But Tuxedo Corn Company founder John Harold, whose Olathe corn is picked by migrant workers at harvest-time, criticized the proposed legislation as a “compromise,” asserting there is no longer “any excuse” for citing border security as a rationale for inactivity.

OBAMACARE ‘BROKEN FROM THE VERY START’

The recent federal shutdown was a partisan response to the Affordable Health Care Act that sent Republican ratings plummeting, cost the government billions of dollars and damaged U.S. credibility nationally, charged many in the audience. Intense shouting and finger-pointing prevailed Saturday morning, until a Tipton staff-member intervened.

But Tipton did not back down from his stance that the new health care law was “broken from the very start,” and that a “market-based” health care reform plan would better serve his constituents.

“People in rural Colorado are going to pay double” for Obamacare over people in metro areas, Tipton said.

Montrose businessman Glen Davis took that argument a step further, saying that for small business owners, it is “cheaper to pay the hospital” bills for employees “than the insurance” bills from Obamacare.  

Davis went on to brand the President a “crook and a liar.”

Tipton’s Mountain Village town hall on Friday will mark his first visit to eastern San Miguel County since he was first elected to Congress.

Will you vote to return Scott Tipton to Congress next year?


Comments
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RandolphJohnA
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October 31, 2013
After years of immigration related human rights abuses (by the undocumenteds' home country "governments" and the US government too), years of the profit-driven/poverty-producing economic policies, and years of Washington's failure (by design) to effectively control illegal immigration, what would anyone expect at a public discussion including Washington's current version and convoluted contemplation of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR)?

CIR is a profit-driven attempt at compromise that despite the fact that upon approval, billions more of US tax dollars will be pumped into Washington's crony "border security" black-hole - will not - I repeat - will not (by design) effectively stop illegal immigration.

So here are the real questions that neither side of the debate will address: Besides the obvious immigration benefit to 11.2 million undocumented people, who will also profit from this CIR and who will profit from the next, and the next, ad infinitum?

We were promised an end to illegal immigration with Reagan's 1986 Amnesty, Clinton's 1994 NAFTA, and Bush's creation of DHS in 2003. Why in God's name should we believe you now?



Mexican poverty currently runs at about 48% and 62% of the US undocumented are Mexican. Why does CIR fail to mention (Mexican) poverty as the root cause of US illegal immigration? The US shares 1.25 billon dollars a day in NAFTA cross border trade, yet Mexico's poor have to leave Mexico and sneak into the US in order to etch out a bit of prosperity?

Tell me oh wise Washington CIR politicians: have you ever bothered to ask the Mexican undocumented if they would bother to come or stay here if they could have similar opportunities to prosper at home?

Tell me something all of you CIR advocates: How many more undocumented people will die crossing the border and continue to suffer poverty because this CIR, and the next, and the next ad infinitum will not address or solve the root problem of illegal immigration?

CIR is an insult to the 11.2 million undocumented who accept a bribe of US citizenship for 13 years of labor peonage.

CIR is an insult to the undocumenteds' home friends and families who will be left with the same or worse conditions and choices that you (the current 11.2 million undocumented) had.

CIR is an insult to the many Americans who will lose high tech jobs to foreigners who will be granted (thanks to CIR) an increased number of H-1b visas.

CIR is an insult to the many Americans who suffer the undocumented consequences of over- crowded hospital emergency rooms, losses of jobs, and unfair demographic changes to their home towns.

CIR is unfair to everyone except those who profit from it. Yet greedy people from the top to the bottom will demand this CIR despite its inherent incapability to solving illegal immigration.

Will CIR give America's farmers the laborers they need to harvest their crops? Time will tell. Yet if the past is any indication of what will happen now, this temporary work visa idea will die on the vine too. Why? Because the big-Agri makes more money off of illegal workers than legal ones.
Pyramid
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November 04, 2013
'Fix our country'? It's not your country, you came here illegally, you are a criminal. What about the two friends of mine that were killed by illegal Mexican drivers? How about them, where's their justice. Report and Deport!!
prettyplease
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October 31, 2013
Oops Tipton and Cory Gardner DONT KNOW that Colorado has it's own exchange , and Obama care buzz word does not apply to our state.

Obviously mr Davis does not provide access to health insurance to his employees or he would KNOW that colorado has been working for many years on the exchange,and improve access to ALL ,even those with pre existing conditions and the poor.
jmfay
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October 31, 2013
There is also a group wanting single payer. They have a petition going around to try to get on the ballot in 2014; a proposal to give ALL CO residents; health care.

Notice the caps because this means all illegals and even new immigrants who are not allowed to get benefits until they have been here and contributed for so many years.

Some CO residents dont even have access to basic health care; others dont have the access they need for dental and eye ware and yet we need to help illegals and new immigrants beyond emergency medical and immunizations if there is an outbreak?