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Flake believes Congress can get immigration reform done after DACA

The Capitol Dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, Monday, July 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

LISTEN: Senator Jeff Flake

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that he feels Congress will be able to pass immigration reform after President Donald Trump opted to get rid of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“I believe Congress is going to act and only Congress can provide a permanent fix,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos.

“I would encourage them to talk about the benefits of DACA, talk about the benefits to the economy of having these kids here.”

Flake said he was glad Trump also waited to remove DACA after being in the White House for several months instead of day one, as he had originally promised. The senator also praised Trump’s decision to end the ban in six months’ time instead of right away.

“The president turning to Congress is good,” Flake said. “I’m glad that he gave six months. I wouldn’t have supported just a cancellation of it. He needs to give the Congress time.”

Despite Congress historically failing to pass immigration reform in recent years, Flake said the 800,000 or so DACA children could be the motivation the legislative body needs.

“I think we can do that rather quickly if we put our minds to it,” he said.

The senator also said Trump needs to do more now that DACA has been eliminated, especially with expected bipartisan support for a big overhaul.

“The Democrats, overwhelmingly, have supported the Dream Act and there are a sufficient number of Republicans to get us past 60 votes,” he said. “What would really help is if the president would now indicate that he will sign it.”

Flake has his name attached to three Senate bills that would do everything from extend DACA for a few more years to creating a permanent path to citizenship. He said he is ready to get the ball rolling, depending on what the president is looking for.

“If he would indicate that he’s willing to sign one of them – or some version of one of them – that would really help us out,” he said.

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