Meet the Press   |  March 31, 2013

Sen. Flake offers GOP perspective on immigration

Jeff Flake of Arizona visits Meet the Press to discuss the Republican side of negotiations on the immigration overhaul framework.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now for the republican perspective, another member of the so-called gang of eight, jeff flake . senator, welcome. senator, let me start --

>> thanks for having me on.

>> let me start with the same question that i started with senator schumer at the beginning. how close are we to a deal? are you guys there? is it just dotting an "i" and cross i crossing a "t"?

>> we're much closer with labor and business agreeing on the guest worker plan. that doesn't mean we've crossed every i6 or dotted every "t" or vice versa . we're closer, certainly.

>> if there is a deal that you agreed to with this group of eight but you can't recruit more republicans on your side, would you walk away ?

>> we're committed to this. if we can get the language right, and i think that we'll stick together as a gang, and i hope that we can pull some republicans our way. i think a number of them are with us already. i don't want to talk about walking away . i don't intend to do that.

>> how important is senator rubio to the cause? he is seen to the bridge to some of the more conservative members of the senate conference if he wasn't in the coalition? would it hurt your cause to get a large vote?

>> you bet. he's extremely important as senator schumer said, he's had great input, a lot of input into the language already. he's making the point now that we immediate to go through regular order which i certainly support, so he's extremely important to this effort.

>> when you say regular order and i heard senator leahy, the senator of the judiciary committee , would have hearings. there's been a criticism of some other republicans not involved in these negotiations. the fact is we just had two special interest graups negotiate part of this deal. no elected officials were involved in it. is that healthy for this process?

>> well, i can tell you elected officials were involved in this. we were involved every step of the way. but, the point is, every senator has his own or her own franchise here, and we want to see this bill move through regular order. it will be amended in the judiciary committee . it will be amended certainly on the floor. so there will be input. there should be input. it will make it a better product. and certainly if people are going to buy into it, there has to be further input from the senate and obviously the house will move its own bill.

>> senator schumer would not tell us what this metrics and border security , your home state of arizona. you've talked about -- you've said there are two border second sectors in arizona. one is the yuma sector. one is the tucson sector. and you say yuma has got it right. what does that mean, that there is operational control? can you explain what that means in layman's terms to the viewers out there?

>> yes, i was in both the yuma sector and the tucson secotor last week and there is a difference. in the yuma sector, people still get through, but our border patrol and other agents have a reasonable expectation of catching them. that's probably the best explanation of what operational control means. you'll never stop everyone from coming through and you have a lot of commerce, legal commerce, that happens at the border as well. so when people talk about having a sealed border, weigh don't need a sealed border. we need a secure border. that's what we have in yuma . we're quite a ways from that in the tucson sector.

>> and when that is done, that would trigger the pathway to citizenship?

>> yes. first, we've got to get, as you mentioned, some kind of metrics from the department of homeland security . in a recent report that they had, increased apprehensions was used in one part of the report to indicate that we had a better situation and in another part of the report increased apprehensions did -- decreased apprehensions was used to demonstrate the same. so we've had trouble getting a good metrics out of the department of homeland security . we're going to have to have that before we move it further.