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Sen. Jeff Flake Eager to Sponsor Short-Term Immigration Fix After Week of Failed Debates

— February 18, 2018

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake has an immigration plan he hopes can unite the chamber after a week’s worth of failed debates.

According to, Flake – who’s due to retire after his term concludes – is eager lay out his proposal once the Senate returns from next week’s recess. The Republican is trying to arrange a temporary fix for the former recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, securing billions of dollars in border wall funding in exchange for the future.

However, Flake isn’t proposing any permanent outcome. His plan is, in essence, is a short-term measure aimed to appease President Trump and buy Dreamers more time.

The outspoken Arizonan and Trump critic is offering $7.6 billion in border wall funding, spread out over three years, in return for a three-year re-codification of DACA.

“I’ll just keep at it. I do think that’s something Democrats can go for,” Flake said in a telephone interview Friday.

Flake, writes Politico, expects to garner some support from his own party and across the aisle. Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) said she might support a less comprehensive immigration endeavor if a large-scale fix fails to muster support within the Senate.

“One of the things I said repeatedly is that: ‘The fallback position might have been better structured as three and three.’ Three years of [border wall] funding for three years of codification of DACA,” said Heitkamp.

Perhaps not coincidentally, President Trump now has but three years left in his first-term tenure.

But the White House may not put its weight behind Flake’s bill. Politico reports that the Oval Office is interested in a bill sponsored by Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Rob Portman (R-OH).

The conservative trio are prepared to make DACA a permanent fixture, grabbing $25 billion in border wall and enforcement funds.

President Trump’s first favored plan offered amnesty and residency to Dreamers as well as an estimated million other illegal immigrants – primarily young people who’d have qualified for DACA under other circumstances. However, the White House-backed bill failed spectacularly, with Democrats refusing to slash legal immigration and provide billions of dollars for the border wall.

A similar measure, put forward by Flake and Heitkamp earlier in the week, failed to pass with the required 60 votes, falling short at 54.

Flake attributed some blame to the arrangement of votes – his bill came to face reckoning before Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA), which had Trump’s seal of approval. Sen. Flake suspects that some conservatives may have held out to vote in line with the commander-in-chief’s preference.

“We had hopes that we might get to 60. It was difficult given the way it was structured. Having the Grassley proposal last made it difficult,” Flake said. “You had a number of Republicans that felt they needed to vote yes on the president’s proposal.”


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