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US Sen. Jeff Flake grills Homeland chief over migrant children problem

PHOENIX -- U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that it was naive to not think lax border enforcement was part of the reason behind the recent flood of unaccompanied minors into the country.

Flake questioned Johnson on Wednesday during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Flake added he was disturbed that border patrol agents are being pulled away from their primary job of patrolling.

"How many agents are being pulled away from patrolling to processing the unaccompanied minors and others?" the junior senator said.

Johnson told Flake there was enough manpower for border enforcement duties.

Flake said President Obama needs to make clear that there are consequences to illegally entering the United States.

In the letter to the president, Flake and and Sen. John McCain highlighted lax enforcement of U.S. immigration law as a contributing factor to the increase in the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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