Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who was a member of the Senate’s Gang of Eight that wrote the immigration bill, said he agreed with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that illegal immigration was an “act of love” and praised him for having “the guts to say it.”
Flake made his remarks in a Facebook post on Monday:
A few weeks ago, Jeb Bush made a statement that has garnered a great deal of attention. He noted that for some illegal immigrants, crossing the border could be considered an “act of love” because it was motivated by a desire to feed and care for their families.
I’ve been asked what I think of this statement. Truth is, I agree with Jeb, and I applaud him for having the guts to say it. Growing up here in Arizona, I’ve seen what motivates those who come here illegally. Sure, some come with the intent to do harm or simply to take advantage of our generosity. But many come to find work to feed their families. To lump everyone who crosses the border illegally into the same class is unfair and unproductive.
Flake wrote that the country needed “a mechanism to deal with those who are already here illegally in a rational manner” and said that “having such a prominent Republican speak so humanely and unapologetically about the motivations behind many of those who have come to reside in this country is good for all of us.”
Bush, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, has come under fire for saying that illegal immigration was an “act of love” and should not “rile up” Americans. He did not use the same rhetoric days after he first made his remarks even though he defended his comments. Even Republican establishment consultant Karl Rove has said that Bush’s words were not the most artful.