PHARR, RGV – There is a split in opinion among the Republicans running for the 15th Congressional District of Texas on what to do about the ten or 11 million people living without documentation in the United States.

Xavier Salinas and Tim Westley say they oppose providing a pathway to citizenship for these residents. Ruben O. Villarreal says he supports giving them legal status. The three candidates gave their views at a CBS 4 News forum held at the Pharr Events Center on Monday event. The event was broadcast live on TV.

Roxanne Garcia of News Talk 710 KURV’s afternoon Drive Home show asked the question about a pathway to citizenship. She asked: Are you in favor of a path towards citizenship for the millions who are here in this country illegally and how would you fix the broken immigration system?

Here were the answers:


“I am not in favor of a path to citizenship and the reason is, as we look at this awesome document that I have in my hand, called the United States Constitution. The Constitution is a great instrument that created laws, helped us to get the foundation we have today. The country is great because of the Constitution. The moment that we begin to do things that violate that Constitution, we are going to see ourselves with multiple problems.

“I spoke with one of the Border Patrol agents here recently. He pointed out the fact that, if we start waving carrots on the other side of this thing we call the gate, the river, if we start waving carrots on the other side of the United States, what we are going to run into is a huge issue, with people saying there’s incentive for me to break the laws of the United States.

“So, what do we do? I want to make sure we do some comprehensive immigration reform. I want to make sure we look at people like the DREAMers that are trying to stay here, those children, make sure we let in people into the United States that are legal, we want to make sure that we can do things within the realms of the United States Constitution.”


“We live in the greatest country in the world, the United States of America. I am also against a pathway to citizenship because I feel that we have to follow the laws, the rules. We can’t pick and choose which laws to follow. We must follow all laws. That is what made America great. As I look at this, we are a country where everybody wants to come in and we have got to make sure that our border is secure, making sure that the people that want to come in, with some reforms to speed up the legalization process, so that can happen. But, we have got to follow the laws at all times.”


“We have to secure our border first and foremost. Let’s start there. That’s going to be the foundation, the building block. I was the mayor of a border town and I saw hundreds if not thousands of immigrants go through my town, from Central America, Mexico, even China.

“Now here is the thing that is going on in our country. We have ten to 11 million undocumented immigrants that live in this country already. The FBI can’t even find their ten top most wanted and we are sure as heck not going to find ten million immigrants that live here and don’t want to be found.

“So, my solution is a path to legal status. Let them come here. If they have been lawful, if they worked hard, if they have been productive parts of our community there is no reason whatsoever we cannot immerse them into our culture, into our community because, folks, they are already a part of our community. The great Ronald Reagan did back in the 1980s. It is time we do it one more time.”

The Congressional District 15 forum was held at the Boggus Ford Events Center in Pharr. The questions were posed by KURV’s Garcia, CBS 4 News morning show anchor Dan Joseph and Rio Grande Guardian editor Steve Taylor. All nine candidates, three Republicans and six Democrats, participated.

Editor’s Note: The Rio Grande Guardian will post a review of the Democratic candidates that participated in the CBS 4 News forum in our next edition.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this story was provided by CBS 4 News.