Sen. Jeff Flake said Thursday that he believes the situation on the border would be better if the House had signed off on the immigration reform bill that passed out of the Senate last year.
Mr. Flake, Arizona Republican, was a member of the bipartisan group of eight Senators that crafted an immigration bill that would have invested more in border security, granted quick legal status to most illegal immigrants and offered a pathway that would let most illegal immigrants get citizenship in about 13 years.
The bill passed the Senate on a 68-32 vote with the help of 14 Republicans, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a possible 2016 presidential contender.
“I do think the situation would be better … had the House moved like the Senate did,” Mr. Flake told CNN.
Mr. Flake, though, said the Obama administration and Congress now must act to stem the tide of unaccompanied children by sending them back to Hondorus, El Salvador and Guatamela.
He also warned that Mr. Obama’s recent request for $3.7 billion would not solve the problem.
“Anybody looking at this document from the president would say, ‘We are keeping the status quo,” Mr. Flake said. “‘We are going to continue to take these kids, and warehouse them, and then settle them around the country’ — That is exactly the wrong message to send to those in Central America. It tells them keep doing what you are doing.”