Rep. Flake meets dead end on immigration reform
March 23rd, 2011
04:06 PM ET
12 years ago

Rep. Flake meets dead end on immigration reform

(CNN) – GOP Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake is reversing his position on immigration, according to a report in The Arizona Republic. The six-term Congressman, who was a staunch proponent of broad immigration reform including a pathway to citizenship, has had a change of heart.

"In the past I have supported a broad approach to immigration reform – increased border security coupled with a temporary worker program. I no longer do. I've been down that road, and it is a dead end," Flake is expected to announce in a statement on his website, according to the article. His congressional office has not responded to a CNN request for the statement.

The specter of a 2012 U.S. Senate candidacy in Arizona combined with pressures from hard line, traditional Republican attitudes that prescribe a strict immigration policy may have taken their toll on Flake, who co-sponsored legislation in 2007 that would have established a pathway to citizenship as well as a guest-worker program.

Flake was the first Republican candidate to launch a bid for retiring Sen. Jon Kyl's seat and, in the process of preparing for a campaign, has revised his stance on immigration.

"The political realities in Washington are such that a comprehensive solution is not possible, or even desirable given the current leadership. Border security must be addressed before other reforms are tackled, he said."

The article reports that Flake is placing blame for his new position on the drug war in Mexico and his views on "troubling" conditions along the border, and not on statewide Republican politics.

Though he has pushed for comprehensive immigration reform for some time and urged both parties to take up the issue, his position was often at odds with top GOP leaders who focused on securing the border first before doing anything else.

"For those who say that this is a late conversion," he told The Arizona Republic, "I've been supporting these border-security things all along."

- CNN's Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • Jeff Flake
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Russ

    Isn't this what Republicans call flip flopping if this was a Democrat?

    March 23, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. Sgt Schultz

    He has the I am afraid the radical Arizona nutjobs syndrome that Senator McCain now he will try to appear to be a rightie extremist to run for deadbeat Kyi's seat.

    March 23, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
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