Arizona Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain are calling on President Obama to send “a clear message” to those seeking to enter the United States illegally that they are not eligible for his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“While resisting the temptation to take further unilateral action on immigration enforcement, the present situation begs your best efforts to make clear that there are consequences for illegally entering the U.S.,” Flake and McCain — members of the bipartisan Gang of 8 that pushed an immigration reform bill through the Senate last summer — wrote in a letter to Obama Wednesday.
In recent months, the number of unaccompanied minors and family units crossing the border has dwarfed past flow and capacity. According to the pair, it is up to Obama to explain that the new arrivals are not covered by DACA.
McCain and Flake further noted that the lax enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws are encouraging the flood of illegal immigration.
“While a number of factors are influencing the nature of recent illegal crossings, the narrative of lax enforcement of our immigration laws is certainly a significant contributor,” they wrote.
The Arizona lawmakers further called for Obama to make it clear that any congressional action on immigration reform also would not cover the new arrivals.
“In the coordinated federal response you call for, we urge you to use the resources at your disposal to make clear to those seeking illegal entry that current and recent illicit border crossers are not covered by and will not receive consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA),” they wrote. “Similarly, it would be helpful if you could relay that any legislative remedy Congress approves dealing with those here illegally will surely include a requirement to have been in the country for an extended duration.”
McCain and Flake highlighted that legalization under their Senate-passed immigration bill would only apply to illegal immigrants who have been present in the U.S. since December 31, 2011.
“In addition, we urge you to convey to your foreign counterparts that they need to do whatever is necessary to dissuade their citizens from the dangerous strategy of crossing illegally,” they added.