Flake takes a different approach. Along with McCain, he is a prime sponsor of the guest-worker program that would allow most illegal immigrants working in the U.S. to remain. It would also ensure a constant flow of additional laborers that Flake says businesses need to keep the country running.
Flake, who is regularly challenged by anti-immigrant candidates in Republican primaries, acknowledges that many constituents are at first angered by his views, but says that once he explains the complexities of immigration they understand. "We need to be realistic and make a law we can enforce," Flake said. "You either make a statement or you make policy."
Twing, the apartment manager, is active in Republican politics and once ran for the state Legislature in a Republican primary. She said that both congressmen had the right approach. "They both have some fairly good ideas."
At a shopping center near the border between the two congressmen's districts, other Mesa residents also ricocheted between the two stances. "We obviously need the workers for a lot of jobs," said Karl Benson, 68. But as a retired schoolteacher, he has seen the burden that immigrants place on government services, which he thinks should not be extended to illegals.
Steve Grosz, who runs a deejay company, agrees. "I hate to see anybody suffer for coming into our country, but you go to a hospital and the taxpayers are paying the bills for it," the 34-year-old said.
Grosz admitted to a second qualm about illegal immigrants, a common refrain in a town whose population grew 10% in the last four years. "There are too many people moving here, legally or not," said Grosz, who has lived in Mesa for 15 years.
Danean Cummins was born in Mesa, and she also doesn't like the changes. "All my family -- who're all natives -- we go to property we used to own and it's all strip malls," the 38-year-old homemaker said. "You go to the malls and they're covered in Spanish. It's hard not to get prejudiced."
Cummins is convinced that her neighbors are in the country illegally. She complains that they work on cars on their lawn, but her calls to authorities have produced no results.
The Latino population in the Phoenix area has quadrupled since 1980, and surveys show that Arizonans significantly overestimate how many of those new residents are in the state illegally. Some Mesa business owners fear an overreaction to that demographic shift may hurt the economy.
"Why do we let the Cubans and the Asians come in, and we're making such a big deal about the Mexicans?" asked one 58-year-old contractor who did not give his name because he admitted to employing illegal immigrants. The contractor said his employees were worried about rising anger in Arizona and had stopped traveling for fear of being caught by the Border Patrol. "I can't get them to go to Tucson or to Yuma," he said.
Other residents don't see what the fuss is about illegal immigration. Said Christina Eide, 44, a music teacher who lives in a predominantly Latino neighborhood: "My heart goes out to a lot of those people, because they just want to work."