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. Darth Cheney

    "I've been down that road, and it is a dead end." Translation: I've walked the road of moderation, and it means a dead end to my career as a Republican in Arizona.

    March 23, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Another one CAVES in to the tea bag haters! Sad!

    March 23, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Jen

    ...."In the past I have supported a broad approach to immigration reform – increased border security coupled with a temporary worker program and a path to citizenship. But I no longer do because Obama supports those kinds of things, and it would be a dead end and death of my career if I continue supporting what I actually believe in because the GOP leadership has told me to go against anything Obama is for and I am a good little Rethuglican and do exactly as I'm told, even though the world see me and all GOP as blatent flip floppers now."

    These domestic terrorists would vote against their mother if she was for Obama.

    It's ok though, the world sees these hypocrites for exactly what they are.

    March 23, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. DemoCommunists for a Better Way - Bankruptcy

    "reform" is the usual left-wing BS term for everything. A new trillion dollar government healthcare entitlement is a "reform" too! "immigration reform" for a left winger is the same thing. FREE USA CITIZENSHIP FOR LAW BREAKERS. We don't need to secure our borders because there really aren't any threats out there right? And besides that would hinder millions of others from flooding into the USA to turn it into Northern Mexico.

    March 23, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Dave

    Someone else has seen the light. Thank you sir, and may god bless you

    March 23, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Arizona re-elected a mentally unstable Governor Brewer, maybe Kyl will replace her after she's impeached.

    March 23, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. cf

    "Flake" is the right name for this piece of work.

    March 23, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. A Real American

    He must've seen the secret intelligence report on the Terror Octomoms doing the backstroke across the Rio Grande even as we sit here. Their swollen bellies glisten in the sunlight as they reach our shores and release their litters of union thugs, gay Muslims and welfare queens on the unsuspecting real Americans who live along the border.

    March 23, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. senora gringa

    Blame Reagan. He offered amnesty to thousands and thousands meaning that Jose down in Mazatlan would have a place to stay in the US if he could just sneak across the border.

    Meanwhile, my US citizen husband and kids get asked stupid questions like how long they've been here and if they miss Mexico? El Paso, Las Cruces, Sacramento, Sierra Vista – not exactly places named for cities in England.

    Why do so many whites (that's me) think all Hispanics are A) immigrants B) illegal and C) from Mexico?

    Gov. Bill Richardson, Cameron Diaz, Martin Sheen, Rays player Evan Longoria, QB sTony Romo and Mark Sanchez, all US citizens and yet Hispanic. The two are not exclusive of each other.

    March 23, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. diridi

    nation needs stricter immigration policies.....nation needs amend birth right citizenship laws. If a child is born, one of the parents need to be US citizen....just pass this law.....every one wants to come conceived and bear child in America, it should not be that way to free pass....

    March 23, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. seriously???

    Flake flopping in the bottom of the boat like a fish.

    March 23, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. A Real American

    Um, you guys realize that we've deported far more illegals under Obama than we did under any previous president, right?

    March 23, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |

    translation: I'm afraid of the Tea Baggers. I can no longer be a moderate if I want to stay on office. In other words, I'm a hypocrite who won't stand up for my believes.

    March 23, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. Tuco Ramirez

    border security – what a load of hooey. if he was serious, he'd go after the employers and not rest his hat on the same old canard. republicans continue to be much greater threat to this country than border crossers.

    March 23, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. ConservaFascists/F.U.B.A.R.

    Sounds like he is playing to the Teatard base. These so called republicans never seem to amaze me with their flip-flopping.

    March 23, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. Rick in AZ

    Flake decided to run for Kyl's senate seat, therefore he has to reel in all the bigots, raciists and nutters he can.

    March 23, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. Marko

    I think I would start first by changing my name if I were him. Really. To just about anything else. Maybe Flak. Or Fluke, no maybe not that. Ekalf (backwards maybe). O'Flake maybe would soften it a bit. Pick up some certain voters in the process. Fake, oh no not that.

    March 23, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  18. Brittanicus


    The majority of Americans don't care which side of the world people come from to settle here, as long as they arrive legally? The Southwest has been invaded and unless the do-nothing US Government starts enforcing the 1986 Simpson/Mazzoli bill, as it was intended, we will just been washing billions of taxpayer dollars as down the eternal drain, as we have for decades. Arizona has been demonized because it places it's honest citizens-residence first, by ethnocentralist groups and radical pilot politicians who have their own agenda to colonize this nation with the unfortunate poor. The Leftist climb on the bandwagon with pushing the racist card, because they will not examine the truth and are involved in this philosophies of world Government.; facts they will not disclose about spending taxpayer’s money and building larger government agencies so their agenda is successful. These Leftist want wide open borders, with no consideration for the taxpaying public. They can lie in the Liberal press all they want, but the truth is Americans are sick and tired of supporting the impoverished of other countries. As for religion and church doctrines. They should stay out of any political issues, especially since wars have been caused by religion through the ages.

    A letter from the promoters of corporate greed, doomed the first chance of fiscal American survival against the illegal alien occupation. The letter signified the influence of the major instigator, the US Chamber of Commerce, whom believes that discount illegal labor is an essential to our wilting economy? A Guest Worker program would alleviated this problem, if it wasn't full of visa loopholes? We already bring into America over a million and a half a year, so exasperating the process just make citizens and authorized residents resentful and angry. This is especially true when the company bosses do not drive on congested highways, they live in gated mansions or isolated homes and have no dealings with the imported foreign crime and the crumbling neighborhoods full of poverty-stricken foreigners. For Tea Party is apposed to any form of Amnesty, which includes so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Rescind the birthright citizenship law, except one parent is a citizen, Any form of Dream Act or Sanctuary City policies, until the border fence is sealed tight and controlled by at least 5.000 military presence. We just cannot subsidize the worlds poor as its threatening especially the American workers on the lower scale, the State and federal economy and unrest in this nation.

    The business industries find ways negate the tax code, but the men and women taxpayers have no such political advantages. Ordinary Americans have no special privileges and cannot attribute, but a few dollars to political campaigns. Only united voices as with the TEA PARTY can fix the hardships of all the populace, by stopping the "Tax and Spend" Liberals, who a major part of bring more illegal aliens to our shores and borders.

    Leftist -Democrats and even some Republicans opposed the advancement of the-REAL-fence and placed obstacles so the E-Verify system of catching foreign nationals, before they were hired. However, the Leftist portion of our government haven't been able to place obstacles in the way of Secure Communities as yet? Just about every newspaper calls illegal aliens–undocumented immigrants, or other De-Facto name, when in truth they are foreign aliens and have no right to be here. The TEA Party knows this and will fight against the Liberal progressives and any other crazy scheme, thinking that Americans are not going to stop these parodies of our laws. Scrutinizing the papers today, one article accessed the growing population of Arizona. We accept high demand skilled workers, but their is no financial room for people who need public welfare. The Bloomberg E-news states When talking about the Arizona census population:

    Tests of the limits and effectiveness of immigration policies and procedures are underway in Arizona, where the Hispanic population increased 46.3 percent between 2000 and 2010 to account for 29.6 percent of the 6.4 million residents. Of course the US Census didn't distinguish between honest Legal and illegal persons which Obama’s Leftist Czars and thought was justified. NOTHING MORE NOTHING LESS! They are illegal as they broached the sovereignty of our border. If there was any true intention to seal our border from economic migrants, including the instant birthright baby, entry would have classed as a felony. Its illogical to think that the Greatest nation on Earth, cannot control the inflow of foreign national.


    All the US government has to do, is throw conniving business owners in prison, when they hire illegal aliens. Cross-Reference all documentation for person applying for welfare, seal the borders with troops and the double layer fence and amend the 14th Amendment. In addition every sponsor of family chain migration must be held accountable. Becoming a member of the Tea Party in your district will elect more positive thinking Candidates, to stop the bleeding of State treasuries, federal coffers and your rising taxes. Plain and simple-we cannot support the poor and indigent no more or we too will be sinking to a third world society.

    March 23, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. Marko

    Maybe O'Flakez and pick up even more of certain voters.

    March 23, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    @ DemoCommunists for a Better Way – Bankruptcy:

    Does that include the "entitlement reform" your group of Koch-heads have embraced? Why don't you just admit you like being a mindless Right-Wing Drone that has surrendered all independent thought? Its sad watching the GOP embrace fear and paranoia dressed up as freedom as a political strategy, and then bully everyone into accepting a vision that clings to ignorance and the past rather than embracing the possibilities the future holds. Jeff Flake does not deserve that Senate seat if thats the best he can do.

    March 23, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Ian

    Another GOP who bends over to get the vote of the angry old white people; what happens when in a decade or so the angry old white people are just another minority? It is sad that Congress has failed to tackle immigration at a federal level in a comprehensive fashion. Listening the Tea party lunatics and other modern day KKK incarnations is hurting the GOP as well as the country...very sad!

    March 23, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  22. Marcus

    There you have it.
    Moderation is no longer a value for the GOP.
    How many conservatives that are not (in any way) holding an 'extreme' vision/proposition about a national/local problems will say 'You lost me' in the months to come?

    March 23, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. John Q.

    No doubt there is some politics in play here, but he is right. There is no such thing as comprehensive reform without a secure border, and that doesn't exist. The term comprehensive is just meaningless double talk for amnesty with no longer term solutions at all. We have been down this path before with Reagan, and they were hollow words; the border is porous as ever, even with more criminality, and that brings us right to where are today... yet once again. Fix the border problem first, then talk of a solution to those already here illegally. It's the only thing that makes any real sense... unless of course you believe in open borders.

    March 23, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. Ella

    People don't just magically change their views on an issue like this. It's sad that moderates are no longer allowed to have their own opinion and are expected to simply bend over for the extremists. His name says it all.

    March 23, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  25. Bob, Virginia

    Re. Jeff Flake, R-Teatardistan

    March 23, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
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