Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) was on Here and Now today to discuss his take on the influx of migrant children from Central American counties in border states. As you may recall, Flake introduced in 2007 a bill that created a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and generally supported Democratic-majority efforts for immigration reform. The Congressman was later punished by then-Minority Leader Boehner for "bad behavior" by voting against Republican leadership.
Since then, and since being elected to the Senate in 2012, he has taken a turn to the right on immigration, with today being a gleaming example.
Speaking to Jeremy Hobson, Flake recognized that him and McCain "understand there are going to be colorable cases of persecution, [and we] believe that these can be handled in those countries" and stated that the solution would be to increase funding to American diplomatic missions in Central America. The irony? Flake and his Republican cohorts have been cutting the State Department's budget since coming into the majority in 2010 with no sign of reversing course anytime soon. In fact, House Republicans a proposing further budget cuts to federal employee unions, with American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox telling the House Oversight and Government Subcommittee on Federal Workforce that the cuts would in part make it more difficult for Border Control agents "to keep drug smugglers out of the country".
Going further, the junior senator from Arizona expresses a greater misunderstanding of the conditions in Central American counties saying there has been no "spike in gang activity" or "activity that would cause somebody to want to come across the border". To him, all of Central America's troubles must be over and there couldn't possibly be any reason someone from, say, El Salvador to ever want to come to the United States. I mean, testimonies like the one from 17-year old Salvadorian migrant Samuel Carcamo must sound like unjustified whining to Republicans: "to Carcamo, the journey means trading a hopeless situation at home for potential security and prosperity in the United States. There are no jobs in El Salvador, he said, and gang influence continues to grow. If he can get to the U.S. and find a job, he can help his family get ahead."
To Republicans, 19 murders per day must not be enough for children and their families to want to seek a better life.
When finally asked by Hobson whether or not sending large numbers of children back to Central America would send a message to the world that might be interpreted as negative, Flake dismissed such assertions: "people [would still] recognize we're the most generous, humane country in the world". To Republicans, apparently, believe that deporting the majority of the 52,000 kids that have come here since October 2013 is just another graceful example of America's wonderful great humane treatment of immigrants. Going further, Flake spoke about how it would be "unreasonable" to believe the notion that the "overwhelming majority of these kids would be admitted into the country". Sounds like that no matter what, Flake and his fellow Republicans will always consider it fundamentally unreasonable to even consider allowing these kids to seek the opportunity for a better life.