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tv   U.S. Senate Senator Flake on DACA Border Security  CSPAN  January 9, 2018 2:03am-2:19am EST

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2012, i would remind us as a nation we should honor all of those statements if we do any of those statement, including president obama's statements of saying this will end and people that are crossing our border will be returned to their home country as he announced publicly there is a right way to be able to do immigration. let's do it the right way. we already receive a million a year. let's do it the right way. and you'll find a very welcoming united states of america. that's where i think we can go, and i hope in the days ahead that we can finish out a negotiation to be able to resolve some basic things. not everything in immigration but at least the core issues of immigration and border security so we can resolve the issue not only for those kids in daca but continue to be able to work on how we are securing our nation for the future. with that, madam preside mr. pr. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: mr. president, over
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the past couple of months we've seen a lot of efforts with regard to immigration reform, in particular to address the situation about the so-called daca kids, the dreamers who were brought here through no fault of their own and are now protected, many of them, through the daca program. but those protections will run out on the 5th of march. in fact, some have lost their protections already. so there is a great impetus and urgency to deal with this program. i've said from the beginning that in order to establish a long-term resolution and to provide regulatory certainty that a true daca fix must be a bipartisan solution. over the past year the two big items that this chamber and the congress has dealt with -- health care reform and tax policy -- have been done under
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rules of reconciliation, meaning that if we could get a bare majority of republican votes that would be enough, if we could keep all the republicans together. that is no longer the case with our approach to daca. we're not under rules of reconciliation. it will require 60 votes, meaning that only a bipartisan solution will do. that's why i've been working on such a measure with my republican and democratic colleagues here in the congress as well as in the white house. as i've said repeatedly, i believe on this issue that the president's instincts are better than the some of the advice that he gets. i truly believe that he does want a solution for these young immigrants. i hope that we can get there and we'll have a meeting tomorrow with the white house, a bipartisan meeting to try to get a little farther down the road. let me just stress, a lot of words are highly charged that
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are thrown around this immigration debate. no word is perhaps more highly charged than the word amnesty. that's been thrown around by a number of my colleagues. i would suggest that that is not the case here with the daca kids. amnesty by definition is an unconditional pardon for a breach of law. i don't think a child being brought across the border by the parents has committed a violation of the law. not the child. certainly the parent but not the child. and so to provide relief for those kids and to allow them to stay in the only country that they know, i don't think should be called an amnesty. yet that highly charged phrase is often used -- or word. to say, or to suggest that anyone pursuing a bipartisan solution is proposing amnesty, i think, is misleading, and it
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puts back the cause of actually trying to fix the situation. in the proposal that we are drafting, this bipartisan group offers a pathway to citizenship only for a specific group of young immigrants. as i mentioned, those who were brought here through no fault of their own. these are immigrants who are serving in the military, who are seeking education, who are holding good jobs. and they'll be required to continue to do so before they can have a chance to earn citizenship. as for the parents of these young immigrants, nobody can deny the fact that they did break the law, and any bipartisan proposal on daca cannot and will not reward them for this behavior. i agree with the president when he said that dealing with daca is a very different subject, or difficult subject, but we must do so with heart. and i believe that that has been
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the case for those in this chamber who have tried for 16 years to get a solution for these kids. we have to prioritize border security measures obviously to determine which ones are sensible to include in the daca measure. we will go beyond simply dealing with these daca kids with some border security measures, but we have to find out which ones are sensible and make sense to include in this limited measure, and table those that should be considered for the future. i have been part of comprehensive immigration reform efforts in the past. i look forward to be part of the comprehensive immigration reform efforts later this year. but this is not that. we have a very specific purpose to achieve before the 5th of march. i believe, and the commitment
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that we got was to have a bipartisan bill on the senate floor by january 31. i believe we need to in order to have enough runway to get this actually done by march 5. the white house, after much urging on our part, finally sent a list over as to what they considered part -- or should be considered part of the border security plan. as i mentioned, many of these items need to be addressed. maybe all the items need to be addressed. but they need to be addressed as part of a larger, more comprehensive effort, not the limited fix that we're going to do before march 5. i'm all in when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform. i look forward to that debate but we have to understand we can't do it all before march 5 if we're going to protect these kids. some will say we get to march 5, if we can't do it, we kick the
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can down the road again with some other protection. i think the courts have made it clear that what was done prior to this, the daca program itself was not constitutional. and should we simply say we're going to extend that program now, it would be found unconstitutional by the courts. so this is a real deadline. we've got to meet it. we've got to focus specifically on protecting these daca recipients. i think republicans and democrats and the president all want this. the question is, are we going to just over the next couple of weeks talk about bigger, broader issues that need to be dealt with but have no chance of being part of legislation? back in 2013 i participated in the gang of eight. we negotiated for seven months
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nearly every night here in washington. we as members negotiated and our staffs did as well, much longer hours and into the weekends. then we brought that piece of legislation to the judiciary committee where we debated for a couple of weeks, i think amended it more than 100 times. then we brought it to the house floor for another couple of weeks and edited it several more times before passing it by a vote of 68-32. that was a long process, hard-fought compromises in that legislation. to suggest that we can go through a similar effort in the next couple of weeks simply isn't going to happen. and so the list that the white house brought forward is simply, simply something that we ought to consider for comprehensive reform but not for this specific fix. with regard to the border itself, we all know that we need additional infrastructure on the border. i represent arizona here. we have some 375 miles of
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border. some of the border has good barriers in terms of fences. some areas we have what could approximate a wall. the closest thing we have approximating a wall of these old landing strips from world war ii that we put on their end and cemented in, they're opaque. you can't really see through them. we have them in a number of communities along the border. we've been taking them out because they're not very effective, and been putting fences in in place of them because we need to have visibility to the other side of the border. so most of what the president's talking about along the southern border is actually a fence. we do need more fences. in the gang of eight bill, i think we authorize 700 miles of additional and improved fencing. nobody's suggesting that we don't need additional infrastructure or barriers on the border. the question is how much do we
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provide for in this legislation? the president has made a request in the budget for about $1.6 billion for the coming year. i think that totals about 74, or will result in 74 miles of fence between texas and california. i think that that's a good place to start. how much we authorize going forward will be very much in debate. i know that during the campaign, the president talked long and hard about building a wall. but every time he mentioned building a wall, he talked about mexico paying for it. we all know, many of us knew at the time mexico was not going to pay for that wall. they're not. that's why the president is asking for $18 billion of u.s. taxpayer money to fund that wall. so to suggest that we are, the president hasn't changed his
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position and that we're dealing with a proposal that we've, that no one coming from the white house simply isn't true. it has changed. the president initially said mexico would pay for it. it's not the case. it's the u.s. taxpayer that's going to pay for any infrastructure on the border. that's as it should be. if we're putting up the border fence, we ought to pay for it. to suggest that nobody's changed their position is simply not true. deals like this are, where you need 60 votes necessarily involve compromise. no party, no individual is going to get everything that they want. that's -- the white house won't get everything they want. the democrats in congress won't. neither will the republicans. this will be a compromise. i'm simply suggesting tonight let's get real about the time involved between now and when we have to fix this. and not to think that we can simply kick the can down the road and put in some temporary
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fix, some kind of bridge later that will protect these kids. those protections will run out on march 5, and may be done at that point. so let's get serious, mr. president. let's all get serious, republicans and democrats. not coming forward to the table with unrealistic expectations about what can be done and what can be part of this legislation. let's have something that we can put on the senate floor by the end of the month to leave sufficient time to get this fixed by march 5. s -- so i hope that we can all work together on this, republicans and democrats. with that, i yield the floor.
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>> good afternoon. the floor. director they bring greetings from the hutchins center somewhere it was canceled he cannot be with us today but he is probably watching on his ph


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