ImmigrationArizona GOP senators to push for immigration reform

Published 7 January 2013

Arizona’s Republican Senators — veteran John McCain and newly elected Jeff Flake – let it be known that they would on the forefront of a bipartisan effort in Congress to overhaul U.S. immigration law; the two Arizona senators are now part of a bipartisan group of eight senators promoting a new comprehensive immigration reform plan

Arizona’s Republican Senators — veteran John McCain and newly elected Jeff Flake – let it be known that they would on the forefront of a bipartisan effort in Congress to overhaul U.S. immigration law.

[BF1] McCain in the Senate, and Flake during his sex terms in the House before he was elected to replace retiring Senator Jon Kyl, have been active on the immigration front for years. More recently, however, under pressure from more conservative elements in the GOP, the two moved to advocate bolstering security along the U.S.-Mexico border as a precondition for broader immigration reform efforts.

AZCentralreports that McCain and Flake now appear to go back to their earlier positions which did not condition immigration reform on better border security.

The two Arizona senators are now part of a bipartisan group of eight senators promoting a new comprehensive immigration reform plan. Other senators who have taken part in the talks include Charles Schumer (D-New York); Dick Durbin (D-Illinois); Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina); Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey); Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

“John McCain, the immigration reformer, is back, and Jeff Flake is right with him,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a national organization supporting immigration reform. “It’s huge. Let’s be honest: Immigration reform isn’t going to happen without the two Republican senators from Arizona providing leadership.”

AZCentralnotes that McCain was the GOP sponsor of a major immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2006 but died in the then-Republican-controlled House. He also supported a 2007 immigration legislation authored by Kyl and the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts). That bill also failed.

“A group of us are working on immigration reform, and we expect to have an overall proposal soon,” McCain told the Arizona Republic. “I think the environment is appropriate now to move forward on immigration. … All I can say is we’re making progress. Certainly, Jeff will be part of any solution.”

Flake said he played a role in the emerging immigration compromise. “I still think now’s the time,” Flake said. “We have motivation on both sides for different reasons.”

Sharry said McCain’s and Flake’s return to comprehensive immigration reform shows how the immigration debate has evolved in Arizona since Governor Jan Brewer signed the controversial 2010 immigration law known as Senate Bill 1070.

“Both McCain and Flake have been courageous immigration reformers in the past,” Sharry told AZCentral. “They know this issue inside and out. They understand how hard it’s going to be, and the fact that they have both stepped up to lead the way is huge.”


 [BF1]migratio

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