Early voting for the 2018 midterm elections is coming to an end, but that did not stop El Paso Republican candidate for the 16th Congressional District, Rick Seeberger, from rallying at UTEP’s Leech Grove on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 1.
With the help from members of College Republicans at UTEP and their president Oscar Sanchez, the candidate distributed fliers and spoke with students about his campaign. Seeberger is challenging Veronica Escobar for the seat in the House of Representatives.
Seeberger believes his extensive leadership background is what sets him apart from his opposing candidates. He has led strategic initiatives with various U.S. government agencies such as the U.S. Army, Border Patrol, the Southwestern and Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition, the El Paso International Airport, among others.
“I bring a lot of experience and understanding of how to bring people together and how to move an agenda forward,” Seeberger said.
To move his agenda forward, the candidate wants the work to start here in El Paso. Seeberger suggests that not enough economic development exists in the borderland, and instead, construction makes for the main type of development. To Seeberger, El Paso needs more than just construction.
“I think El Paso is actually achieving much less than it has the potential to achieve. I’m standing here on campus this morning because I believe El Paso has a duty to provide higher paying jobs particularly for U.S. students and others that are pursuing their educational dreams,” Seeberger said. “In order to do that we need to have leadership that can bring organizations here to El Paso.”
Adding to economic development as a strong point in Seeberger’s agenda, fulfilling the promises made to veterans is a priority. This includes providing veterans with proper health care, education, and housing. Veterans are facing multiple problems with health care, including long wait times to see healthcare professionals, being shuffled from one doctor to another, misdiagnosis, the over-prescription of medication and other problems. Because of this, Seeberger seeks the majority vote to help revamp the Veterans Affairs (VA) system.
But there are more pressing issues occurring today, with immigration being a hot topic.
As the candidate rallied along with College Republicans, the fliers that were distributed to students—in hopes of gaining their votes—read, “do you believe the U.S. borders should be secure from people who want to harm us?”
Next to the question, a bright red check mark noted Seeberger’s ‘yes’. An advocate for legal immigration, Seeberger believes that any person who is in the U.S. illegally must demonstrate their commitment to obtaining legal permission to reside in the country. If opportunities are not available for those people, then they must leave the United States, according to the candidate’s official campaign website.
In recent weeks, a migrant caravan from Central America has been making its way to the United States, seeking asylum. Though Seeberger has made dozens of trips to Latin American countries like Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia and Ecuador, he does not believe that the caravan of migrants meet the requirements for asylum.
“I know these countries, I know the people there. They’re great people. I’m sorry but I can’t accept this as being simply a migrant movement,” Seeberger said. “When anybody from a foreign nation carries their flag when they’re marching towards another country, that is clearly a sign of an invasion. And I believe that’s what this migrant group is. They don’t qualify for asylum.”
As stated in the official website of the Department of Homeland Security, an asylum seeker must prove that he or she has a fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. But a necessity obliges the migrants to come to the U.S., a Honduran migrant told the Washington Post. It is a necessity tied to poverty. As the Central American migrants heading to the U.S. seeking asylum, to Seeberger, “none of these folks would qualify for that.”
Sanchez agrees with Seeberger’s stances on immigration and taxes, which is why he hopes that Seeberger wins the seat in the House. To Sanchez, knowledge of political figures and their platforms is important in order to make an educated decision on who to vote for.
“I know a lot of people are pumped up for O’Rourke. People say they already voted and I’m pretty sure they voted for O’Rourke, and that’s fine, but they don’t know what else they voted for and that’s scary,” Sanchez said.