Transcript: Sen. Jeff Flake on the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill

Partial transcript of remarks by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) on the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act”. The press briefing was held on April 18, 2013:

I’m the new guy here. I just arrived from the House this term. I was over in the House last week visiting some of my old colleagues and one of them said, “So how’s the Senate? Who are you hanging out with over there? Maybe Pat Toomey or John Thune?” And I said, “You know, actually Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin.” I never thought I’d say that. [Laughter]

But this has been a great experience.

I don’t know what this bill will be called in the end but I think we can all be rest assured it will not be called the Flake bill. It’s tough enough to get people on these kind of bills without putting “Flake” on it.

But this has just been a wonderful process. Let me just tell you, I’m new to the Senate but I’m not new to this issue.

We’ve worked this issue in the House for a number of years and I grew up on a farm and a ranch in northern Arizona working alongside my labor – many undocumented immigrants were there. I saw what they went through. I saw how hard they worked. I saw what their motivations were – to have a better life for themselves and for their families. And so this to me has always been a personal issue – to make sure that they can have a process and an opportunity to do what we allow them to do here.

To the citizens of Arizona who are concerned about the border, let me just tell you Arizona has borne the brunt of the federal government’s failure to have a secure border for a long time. Let me just say that this is a good bill. The provisions – the border security provisions are sound and strong and we will make sure they remain in the bill.

Let me just say a word at the end. I know that all of us here want to pay tribute to our staff. This was a very difficult bill to write. And let me tell you, translating conflicting or confusing messages from the members is sometimes difficult. As John McCain always says, “Their reward will be in heaven.”

But I appreciate being here. This is a good piece of legislation. We look forward to seeing it through.

Thank you.


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