Will repeat effort until Senate agrees on a deal to protect DACA recipients and improve border security
Posted on Mar 06 2018
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) today took to the Senate floor in an attempt to secure immediate passage of his bipartisan bill to provide a temporary solution for the thousands of DACA recipients facing potential deportation. The “three-for-three” proposal, introduced with U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) on Feb. 27, would extend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program protections for three years and provide $7.6 billion to fully fund the first three years of the administration’s border security proposal. While Flake’s effort was blocked through an objection, he has committed to return to the floor frequently until the Senate reaches a DACA deal.
“I am the first to admit this is a far from perfect solution, but it provides a temporary fix to these crucial problems. It begins the process of improving border security and it ensures DACA recipients will not lose protections and be left to face potential deportation,” said Flake. “We may not have not been able to deliver a permanent solution to these problems, but we cannot completely abdicate the responsibility of Congress to solve them. There are many people whose lives and well-being depend on our ability to deliver meaningful results.”
For more info on the Flake-Heitkamp bill, click here.
To watch video of Flake’s floor speech, click here.
- On Feb. 19, 2018, Flake published an op-ed on this “three-for-three” proposal. To read it, click here.
Mr. President, I've been in Congress now for about 18 years, 12 years in the House, and now six in the Senate. It's been the honor of a lifetime to represent Arizona here. But after being here so long, I have to say I get a little defensive when I hear somebody say that Congress is incapable of solving big problems, but it's a hard point to argue after watching the Senate squander the best opportunity we've had in a long time to pass legislation to protect young immigrants impacted by an uncertain future of the DACA program and in strengthening security along the border.
Somehow, despite sweeping public support for both of these items, we've been incapable of finding a compromise that can garner the support of 60 Senators. To say this was a disappointment would be an understatement.
I do appreciate majority leader McConnell's attempt to facilitate an open debate. I truly believe he wanted this process to provide the necessary dialogue to deliver an effective bipartisan solution.
I also know that I'm certainly not alone in my efforts to forge genuine consensus on this subject. There are a lot of Members on the other side of the aisle who want to fix this problem. Unfortunately, as too often happens, the siren call of politics brought too many of us back into partisan trenches and it blocked any hope of real results.
There are teachers, students, and members of the military who are DACA recipients. They are colleagues and friends who represent the very best ideas of America. They are hard workers and productive members of their families and communities. They don't have the luxury of being able to admit defeat and move on to the next topic.
Likewise, those of us from border states like Arizona know that law enforcement officers tasked with patrolling the border and protecting our neighborhoods cannot just give up and go home. We have neighbors and family members who simply shrug off failure and accept the status quo when it comes to securing the border.
That's why I've introduced legislation to extend DACA protection for three years and provide three years of increased funding for border security.
I'm the first to admit this is far from a perfect solution, but it does provide a temporary fix to these crucial problems. It begins the process of improving border security and it ensures DACA recipients will not lose protections and be left to face potential deportation.
We in Congress have too regularly confused actions with results and have become too comfortable with ignoring problems when they seem too difficult to actually solve. To put it as bluntly as possible, this is simply not something that we can ignore any longer.
I'd like to thank Senator Heitkamp for joining me as a cosponsor on this bill and illustrating that the drive to get something done on this issue is a bipartisan effort. She has been a trusted partner on border security and sensible immigration reform measures.
We cannot completely abdicate the responsibility of Congress to solve this issue. There are many people whose lives and well-being are depending on our ability to deliver meaningful results here.
Therefore, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 300, H.R. 1551. I further ask that the Flake substitute amendment at the desk be considered and agreed to, the bill be amended and considered read a third time and passed and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table.