Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Big Black Sharpie: Jeff Flake In His Own Words

As you read the lengthy timeline, notice how often Flake leaves out the word "illegal" when referring to illegal immigration and instead chooses to use terms like "undocumented" or just "immigration".  He even refers to organizations who support enforcement of illegal immigration bills as being "anti-immigrant".   The most jaw-dropping claim of all is when Flake refers to SB1070 as an "imprudent immigration bill". 

Pay particular attention to the order of events and comments from 2010 to the present.

2003
Flake, McCain, Kolbe introduce a Comprehensive Immigration Bill to the liking of immigration activist, Frank Sharry

2005
2nd Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference
Georgetown University
Sponsored by the Migration Policy Institute, Urban Institute and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network 

Summary of Flake's remarks:

Immigration issues have been magnified and will continue to receive attention for many of the humanitarian reasons that have already captured the public.  His response, the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, attempts to address many of the important and relevant topics in the United States today.  These include:

National Security: A sealed border alone will not prevent future immigrant flows.
Lessons from 1986:  Employer sanctions were unsuccessful and did not acknowledge the need for more workers in the future.
Dealing with Undocumented Population:  Not "amnesty" because those here illegally would pay a "fine".

Flake discussed signs that the politics are changing and improving on the subject.  Organizations favoring border controls have switched tactics.  They are now downplaying the number of undocumented immigrants and in some cases, are grossly underestimating the amounts because they realize that there is no easy answer to deal with such large numbers.  The rhetoric has also changed.  Some anti-immigration organizations are now falling back on far-fetched tactics such as claiming that immigrants are causing an increase in incidents of leprosy in the US. 
(side note:  in all of our research, we have only seen ONE article that discussed the possibility of this "far-fetched" example sited)

Also, while immigration was the cornerstone issue used in numerous Republican party primary challenges in the 2004 elections, the authors of this legislation -including himself and Kolbe, both of AZ, won reelection by nearly 20 points.  As congressional action revolves around reelection, more congressional leaders may be willing to stake out a position on the issue once they learn that advocating responsible immigration reform is a winning strategy.

(Like the story of the boiling frog.)


Flake discussed 3 key elements to ensure action on Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

1.  President's active involvement
2.  Increase the involvement of outside groups including businesses, labor and immigration advocates
3.  Movement on the Senate side, particularly because the House is more polarized on this issue.

(sounds like they have learned how to use the three key elements over the last few years.)

Politics in the Republican Party and Arizona. Congressman Flake described....

in Arizona, the battle is fought in the primary. Many Congressmen take the safe road on immigration issues and utilize popular rhetoric such as “secure the border” because it resonates well in their district. But the state and its political leaders also recognize that Arizona desperately needs workers, not just in agriculture and construction, but throughout the economy. The key to making headway, in Arizona and elsewhere, is the national security argument. To secure the border, Mr. Flake says that we need a legal framework for people to come and go and work.


2006
STRIVE Act
Democratic Congressmen Gutierrez and Flake Unveil Bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation

The Migration Institute convened again with Flake, his Chief of Staff, Margaret Klessig, Senator McCain, etc.  Policy recommendations by the Task Force (which Flake and McCain were both members) included empowering the Executive Branch by:



 

2007
Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform breakfast along with Jason "Carl Pizza Patron Jr" LeVecke, where he encouraged people to contact their Congressmen to pass CIR.
(Click on the link to hear his comments)

(This is the time when Flake should have term-limited himself.  If only...Unfortunately, he was just getting started.)


2009:
March- Flake introduced H.R. 1791, the Stopping Trained in America Ph.D.s from Leaving the Economy Act of 2009 (STAPLE Act), which would ease "non immigrant" and immigrant visa restrictions for foreign students who have earned a Ph.D. in the United States.

May -  Immigration is "key issue" Flake says.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake...said he is pushing for comprehensive immigration policy reform to end the costly and bitter debate.  "I think Arizonans realize by and large that you have to deal with immigration in a comprehensive fashion," Flake said. 'You just can't say we're going to enforce current law without dealing with border issues and the population that's here illegally now. It's a very complicated issue."

Flake said he expects to be at the forefront when President Obama convenes a summit at the White House in coming weeks.

"It's a bipartisan summit and I assume I'll be involved in that," Flake said.

(A summit was held at the White House on June 17, 2009.)


November - Flake speaks to students at ASU:    The Republican position on immigration, or at least the TONE, has not been good for us politically. Because the tone has been HARSH. And when you look at the vast demographic out there, Hispanic American in particular, you have a HARSH TONE, even if your policy isn't any different than anyone elses, it doesn't serve you well politically.




You can explain it both policy wise, you have 12 million people who are here illegally now, you've got to have a mechanism to deal with that. Bring them out of the shadows. You have to go about immigration in a smart way and a HUMANE way


2010
April -  (posted on Flake's own website)-    
   
Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

“Congress needs to act on a plan that increases border security and interior enforcement, creates a temporary worker program, and deals with the millions of immigrants in the country illegally.
If Congress again fails to act, you’re going to see more states move ahead with imprudent immigration bills, similar to Arizona’s new law.”


August -






video

"I think those who DON'T agree with my position, who think that it ought to be something different, at least I think they give me a little credit for STICKING with my position."


2011
January 31st- on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

" 'Comprehensive' has gotten a bad word. But until we have a better one I'll use that.  While we need to enhance border security, that's not enough. You have to have a viable mechanism to deal with the people who are here. My party hasn't come to grips with that.' He explains that his own state of Arizona passed a controversial law that allows for us to 'more easily round people up. But that's not the problem. The problem is what to do about them after we get them.' On a political level, he says the 'tone and tenor of the debate' needs to improve on the Republican side.  But the substance remains the nub of the problem. He says the problem is 'more complicated' than his party would like to admit...But given the current politics, I'd like to be optimistic (about reform legislation), but I'm not."






February 15th - Flake announces run for Senate

February 17th - Flake participates in a meeting with the POTUS at the Oval Office


March 23rd - Flake does a 180 on his decade-old Comprehensive Immigration Reform stance

"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. 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."

April 13 - Flake sponsors HR 1507, the Border Security Enforcement Act of 2011 intended to increase security at the border by deploying 6000 National Guard troops.


June-

"We've all wanted, and I believe still, ultimately you'll need a comprehensive solution to this problem that has a temporary worker plan, some mechanism to deal with those who are here illegally, and interior enforcement.  Until we get better security on the border, nobody's going to trust the federal government to move ahead on any of the other items."

(Wait...didn't he JUST say three months earlier that he no longer supported a "broad approach to immigration reform" that included a temporary worker program?)
video

Full video footage can be found here.


2012

May -  Flake applauds the passage of HR 1299. 

If the legislation becomes law, it would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a comprehensive strategy to Congress within 180 days of the bill being enacted to gain and maintain operational control of US borders within five years.

Is this the reason why Flake is strategically moving over to the Senate? Remember, he himself said that there needs to be movement on the Senate side in order to ensure action on CIR.  One might imagine that his decade-long reputation for being a strong proponent of comprehensive immigration reform and willingness to cross party lines on the issue might be considered an asset over in the Senate.  Especially if he only needed to convince a few more Republicans (and for Flake, preferably freshmen Republicans since they would be easier to sway) in order to get to the 60 votes necessary to pass CIR. 

We already know that Flake doesn't mind being the token "Republican" on or off the court when it comes to playing with Democrats.

We would also like to know what was discussed in his meeting in the Oval Office just a month before his unexpected and unbelievable reversal.  Why the sudden interest in "securing the border"?  Was his proposed border security legislation two months after he announced his Senate run just political theater intended to fool the electorate into believing he really had changed his mind on the issue?

When he said, "The political realities in Washington are such that a comprehensive solution is not possible, or even desirable given the current leadership"  he's not saying he's opposed to CIR, period.  He's just saying it's not possible NOW given who is in office.  That dynamic, however, can change in November.  Does he ignorantly think we are really just that gullible?  Especially when just a few short years ago, he claimed,




"Many Congressmen take the safe road on immigration issues and utilize popular rhetoric such as “secure the border” because it resonates well in their district...The key to making headway, in Arizona and elsewhere, is the national security argument."

Shame on you, Mr. Flake.

video


Jeff Flake on Jon Kyl's retirement:
"To see someone at the top of their game and to just walk away, doesn't happen that often in Washington..."

Yeah.  We know.

Just think...we're only talking about Flake's comments regarding (ILLEGAL) immigration. We haven't even brought up his statements on cap and trade or his flip flop on sanctions.