GOP's Jeff Flake: 'Good Shot' at Breakthrough in Immigration Reform

Image: GOP's Jeff Flake: 'Good Shot' at Breakthrough in Immigration Reform

Sunday, 03 Nov 2013 07:58 PM

By Greg Richter

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Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., says he believes chances have improved for the House of Representatives to take up immigration reform after a push last week from religious, business and law enforcement.

Flake served in the House for 12 years before his election to the Senate in November, and still has ties there. He told The Arizona Republic that he sensed "some active movement" on a plan in the House that would address the 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States – without offering them a "special" pathway to citizenship that Republicans oppose.

"From those I’ve been talking to, I think that we’ve got a good shot at a breakthrough there," Flake told the Republic.

Flake was part of the "Gang of Eight" in the Senate who earlier this year drafted a bipartisan bill in the Democratically controlled Senate. That bill contained a 13-year path to citizenship for those who pass background checks and pay taxes and penalties, among other steps.

Still, many Republicans in the GOP-controlled House labeled the bill "amnesty."

The new bill would allow "dreamers," those brought into the United States as children, and specific farm workers to apply for special legal status, but others would still be required to follow existing rules. In other words, they would not be allowed to "jump the line" in front of immigrants who came into the country legally.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., told the Republic that he would be willing to look at the plan.

"It’s not as definitive but I don’t summarily dismiss that as something that people should look at, no," Grijalva said.

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist told Newsmax last week that the new GOP push for reform was in line with Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp.

"This is a Reagan Republican reform that is pro-growth, helpful to security, getting us a secure border, making us a richer and stronger and more prosperous and more powerful country," Norquist said. "What's not to like about all of those things?"

The Huffington Post reports that Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., is saying the Republican "piecemeal" approach to immigration reform is likely to win out.

"We are going to do them piecemeal, but in the end you're going to have a full menu," Gutierrez told Chicago Public Radio's "Afternoon Shift."

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