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Rep. Jeff Flake Continues to Distance Himself From Himself on Immigration Reform

by Mahwish Khan on 08/23/2011 at 10:37am

Jeff FlakeRep. Jeff Flake, GOP Congressman from Arizona who is now running for Senate, launched an attack on the Obama administration’s new deportation policy. This is the messaging from the 2011 Jeff Flake. The statement is posted at his official House website, but it’s clearly meant for his Senate campaign:

Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, criticized the Obama Administration for implementing an immigration policy that is inconsistent with the Administration’s rhetoric that additional resources to combat illegal immigration are not needed. 

“On one hand, you have the Obama Administration claiming that the border is safer than ever and additional resources to combat illegal immigration are not needed, and on the other you have the Administration claiming that they don’t have the resources to prosecute all illegal immigrants,” said Flake. 

“Rather than choosing not to prosecute certain illegal immigrants, President Obama ought to support the 10-Point Border Security Plan that Senators McCain and Kyl have introduced in the Senate and I’ve introduced in the House.”

That’s typical GOP rhetoric on immigration these days. But, there used to be another Jeff Flake, circa 2006-2007. He was one of the champions of comprehensive immigration reform. But, to comport with the anti-immigrant wing of the GOP, he’s flipped. Big time. 

Here’s what we wrote about Flake last March:

The fact that he is distancing himself from his past leadership on comprehensive immigration reform is a sad commentary on the current contours of Republican Party politics.  Flake, who is apparently worried about a Republican primary, said in reference to his past support for comprehensive immigration reform:

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.

Flake’s statement closely tracks the current position of Arizona’s two sitting senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl, both of whom supported comprehensive immigration reform in the past.

Jeff Flake was once one of the real adults in the Republican Party on immigration reform.  Voters want their leaders in Washington to address comprehensive immigration reform, and Rep. Flake used to be one of the loudest voices fighting for federal action. It’s sad that he is denouncing his previous position on the issue, instead of continuing to challenge the GOP to do the right thing for Arizona, the country, and the Party’s own political interests.

With this latest statement, it looks like Flake has joined the GOP’s mass deportation caucus. He knows better. Flake used to be an immigration reform champion. But, like McCain and Kyl, he’s opting for real politics over real solutions.

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