Gang of 8 senator: Still ‘long way to go’ on immigration

Updated
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., center, speaks as immigration reform legislation as outlined by the Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Eight" that would create a path...
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., center, speaks as immigration reform legislation as outlined by the Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Eight" that would create a path...
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The immigration bill crafted by the bipartisan Senate group known as the “Gang of Eight” will go to the Senate floor next week, but one of the architects of the legislation conceded Thursday that passing it will probably be a drawn out process.

“From my perspective, it has a long way to go,” Sen. Jeff Flake said on Jansing & Co., insisting the bill “was a starting point.”

Flake, an Arizona Republican, was among the group who met with House Republicans Wednesday to talk about comprehensive immigration reform.

“I think it’s very clear that the House will not take the Senate bill. There is an effort on the part of those Senators to improve the Senate bill, but it has a long way to go from the House perspective,” said Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Republican chairman of the  House judiciary committee, as he left the meeting.

Flake wasn’t discouraged.

“I wouldn’t expect the House to take up the Senate bill as it is. The House will likely move forward with their own bill,” Flake said.

But, there is no House bill right now. In fact, the bipartisan group working is now a group of seven instead of eight. Rep. Raul Labrador, a Republican and trained immigration lawyer, left the group.

Meantime, Flake expects many of the amendments on the Senate side to deal with border security. Republican Senators John Cornyn and Rand Paul have already expressed an interest in offering amendments on that issue. But, extremely stringent border security requirements could turn off some Democrats.

“We obviously have to get the right balance here, I think we all recognize we need stronger border control elements. There’s not much trust here, right now, in DHS to go ahead and carry out these functions at the border without congressional oversight, without some kind of verification,” Flake told Chris Jansing.

Gang of 8 senator: Still 'long way to go' on immigration

Updated