Sen. Jeff Flake: President Trump's immigration policy would hurt the economy

  • Sen. Jeff Flake tells CNBC's John Harwood he opposes Trump's proposed reductions in legal immigration.
  • "We're going to need increased immigration," the Arizona Republican says.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., sat down to talk with CNBC's John Harwood about an array of issues. Here's what the retiring conservative lawmaker, and frequent critic of President Donald Trump, said about immigration.

JOHN HARWOOD: The president has laid out conditions that include reductions in legal immigration, that I think go against what you think makes sense.


HARWOOD: Cutting legal immigration is directly harmful to the U.S. economy, is that not the case?

FLAKE: Yes. I think somebody wrote — Fred Hiatt, in The Washington Post — you can be pro-growth and anti-immigration, you just can't be both. And that's very true. We're going to need increased immigration. So that's why I can't vote for the Grassley bill.

HARWOOD: Whatever happens on DACA, do you believe that this Congress will pass reductions in legal immigration?

FLAKE: No, I don't. You know, anything that does that would have to pass 60 votes in the Senate. And there aren't those 60 votes. I don't think there's a majority of Republicans who would go for that. In fact, I know there's not.