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Flake says Congress needs law, not statement, for DACA recipients

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that Congress should be focused on making a law, not a statement, when it comes to Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals recipients.

“We don’t need to make a statement, we need to make a law,” he said on the Senate floor. “There are many challenges facing us with regard to immigration, but protecting these young people should not be one of them. This should be the easy lift.”

The future of nearly 800,000 DACA-eligible people in the United States — including about 50,000 in Arizona — has been in limbo since President Donald Trump ended the program in September.

Under Trump’s order, tens of thousands of them will lose protection from deportation in March. Flake said he has not seen much movement toward a long-term fix.

“Despite the sense of urgency to solve this problem by the end of the year, there is little legislative progress to show for it,” he said.

Flake said his colleagues should work together to come up with a bipartisan solution to help people rather than bicker along party lines.

“These individuals who we seek to help are students and employees, colleagues, and friends,” he said. “They know no other home but the United States. They have embraced the values of hard work and perseverance, and in turn, their communities have embraced them as their own.”

Last week, Flake said he voted to support the Republican tax reform bill because he was promised a seat at the table for a potential deal on DACA.

However, Flake did not disclose more details about the potential DACA agreement.

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