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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sen. Flake: President’s Border Proposal Needs ‘Significant Changes’

Immigrants who have been detained while crossing the border are held inside the McAllen Border Patrol Station in McAllen, Texas, Tuesday July 15, 2014. A solution for the growing crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border is looking increasingly elusive with three weeks left before Congress leaves for recess. (Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times)

Immigrants who have been detained while crossing the border are held inside the McAllen Border Patrol Station in McAllen, Texas, Tuesday July 15, 2014. (Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via AP)

Tonight, Homeland Security Secretary Jeff Johnson and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell are holding a private briefing for all senators.

The briefing comes as part of the Obama Administration’s push this week to try to persuade lawmakers to approve the president’s request for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to address the surge in unaccompanied minors coming in from Central America.

Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake will be at the briefing tonight and joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to share his thoughts on the president’s proposal, and how to address the situation at the border.

Interview Highlights: Jeff Flake

On what needs to be done to stem the flow of unaccompanied children

“There needs to be a change to the 2008 law. The unaccompanied minors need to be treated the same whether they’re from Guatemala or Mexico. That will go a long way toward giving the president the tools for dealing with this situation.”

On what would be different if immigration reform had passed in the House

“The situation, I believe, would be better. One, we would have increased resources at the border, including judges and people in the legal system to move these cases more quickly. Plus, if we have a legal framework for individuals from these countries to come here as a legal guest worker and then return home. Then there would be less of a need to bring family along.”

On protesters in Oracle, Ariz. who intended to block buses of children

“There are a lot of people frustrated — states, governors, elected officials — that there doesn’t seem to be the coordination and consultation that should exist between the federal government and local governments. Having said that, I think it was unfortunate and I hope that people who are leading those kind of protests would reconsider. I don’t think it speaks well for us.”

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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