Flake: Bush remarks on immigration took 'guts'

Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) applauded former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) for "having the guts" to make his "act of love" comments on illegal immigration earlier this month. 

Flake, a member of the Group of Eight who helped broker a comprehensive immigration deal in the Senate last year, said he agreed with Bush.

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"I hold no brief for Jeb Bush, but 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," he said on his Facebook page Monday night. 

Flake said his experience in Arizona has taught him that many come to the country illegally to find work or feed their family. While some come to the country to take advantage, lumping "everyone who crosses the border illegally into the same class is unfair and unproductive."

He said that does not take away from the need for immigration reform, including a secure border, a revised guest worker program, improved legal immigration and a way to deal with the estimated 11 million already here. 

Speaking at his father's presidential library earlier this month, Bush had described illegal immigration as a way of trying to provide for one's family.

"Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love,” the former governor said at the time. “It’s an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime, that there should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.”

Bush has received some criticism for his comments from a number of Republicans. Flake, however, commended the comments. 

"I’ve been asked what I think of this statement," Flake wrote. "Truth is, I agree with Jeb, and I applaud him for having the guts to say it."