Lindsey Graham on Immigration
Republican Sr Senator; previously Representative (SC-3)
GRAHAM: When it comes to changing asylum laws saying that somebody here illegally cannot apply for asylum, I don't know if you can do that by executive order, but I support that policy. Right now people are marching on our border, if they cross illegally then they asked for asylum. Asylum shouldn't be a magnet for illegal immigration. So I support the policy change.
Q: The ACLU suggests that that's actually contravening Congress and established law.
GRAHAM: I might want to get another opinion than the ACLU. But I do believe asylum laws are being abused. They've become magnets for illegal immigration. People cross the border illegally, then apply for asylum. That's not the way asylum is set up to work. I support the policy change. Congress probably should do it, but I am open-minded to the executive order.
GRAHAM: Well, he'll be the third president to do so. But you're not going to secure a border just by adding National Guard troops. You got to go to the root cause of this. The [refugee migrant] caravans come from the triangle countries, Honduras and Guatemala in particular because the conditions are so bad. If you don't have comprehensive immigration reform, you will never fix this problem. We have two borders, one with Canada, one with Mexico. I've never met an illegal Canadian. The point is that Canada has a sound economy, people from the south of us do not have sound economies and if you don't fix the economic magnet, you'll never solve the immigration problem. So building a wall alone won't do anything.
GRAHAM: The court is probably going to rule for the president down the road that he can terminate DACA. That creates some chaos for the DACA recipients who came here on the average age of 6 with nowhere else to go. This is their country. There's a deal to take care of them and get the border wall we desperately need, plus interior enforcement, to make us safer.
Q: And you feel confident that will go through?
GRAHAM: I'm hopeful it will because if we fail, it's just a disaster for the DACA recipients and for our national security. And 70 percent of the American people want us to do both. It may fail, but I believe we owe it to the American people to try again. And I'm going to try again. And I think the president is open-minded to trying again.
MCCAIN: When federal laws are passed, municipalities cannot exempt themselves.
GRAHAM: Sanctuary cities is a symptom of a greater problem. The best thing we could do to honor your son is to fix a broken immigration system. Along with Senator McCain, I've been trying to get it fixed rather than yelling about it. In our bill, you get increased penalties if you come back into the country once you're deported. If you're a felon, you can never come back into the country. There's a lady holed up in a church right now with two kids. Do you want her deported? I don't. What I want to do is keep the people who killed your son from ever coming back to our country, identify them and kick their ass out, and give that lady a chance to stay here by learning our language, paying taxes, and getting to the back of the line. That's what I'm for.
Graham said the initial travel ban was offensive to the 3,500 Muslims who serve in the US military. "Here's what I hope the President understands: When you do something like this, if it's perceived as declaring war on the faith, we're all going to lose," Graham said.
GRAHAM: Well, the first thing I would do is make adjustments to reality [of ISIS and terrorism]. I would make changes to that bill in light of what I know today.
SANTORUM: Lindsey says this is a real war, until it comes to immigration. And, then, all of a sudden it's not such a real war.
Q: What would you do?
SANTORUM: We've created a magnet. We're attracting people. We have a policy that says amnesty. The world hears this, and knows that if they can come across this border, by and large, they're going to be able to stay. That has to change.
GRAHAM: We're not going to deport 11 million people here illegally, but we'll start with felons, and off they go. And, as to the rest, you can stay, but you got to learn our language. Speaking English is a good thing. You got to pay taxes, you got to pay a fine, you got to get in the back of the line. You've got to secure your border or they'll keep coming. If you don't control who gets a job that never ends. As to birthright citizenship, once we clean up this mess, in the future, prospectively, I'm going to look at the following. There are people buying tourist visas that go to resorts with maternity wards with the expressed purpose of having children here in America. Yeah, I'd like to stop that in the future.
Graham, too, spoke in favor of immigration reform, including legal status for undocumented workers, a stand often opposed by conservative audiences. He cast his support in terms of economic necessity, to expand the workforce to pay for entitlement programs for retiring Baby Boomers.
A: Graham supports a legislative pathway to citizenship, as shown in the Gang of Eight bill he cosponsored--but like most of his fellow Republicans, he opposes Obama's executive actions on immigration.
Q: Should the children of undocumented immigrants be offered a pathway to citizenship?
A: Given his support for a general pathway to citizenship for adults, it's not surprising that he supports the same pathway for DREAMers. "I don't believe most Americans would fault the Republican Party if we allowed children who have been here since they're babies to assimilate into society with a pathway to citizenship after we secure our borders," Graham told CNN in December.
GRAHAM: Yes. It's one thing to say, as an executive agency, "I don't have the money to prosecute everybody or to deport everybody, so I'm going to rank them in order." It's another for the president of the United States to say, "not only will I decide not to prosecute a group of people, but I will affirmatively give you legal status." That is well beyond executive action.
Q: So what to do?
GRAHAM: Immigration has been dogging the country since 2006. I have a solution that I have been supporting that is comprehensive, that would allow legal status to the people in question. But you do it through a congressional action, where you get the entire system fixed. His action does not secure the border. It doesn't fix a broken legal immigration system. And it leaves millions of people left out in terms of the 11 million.
GRAHAM: Shame on us as Republicans for having a body that cannot generate a solution to an issue that it's national security, that's cultural and it's economic. The Senate has done this three times. I love my House colleagues, but if you want a piecemeal approach, do it. But doing nothing? I'm disappointed in my party. Are we still the party of self-deportation? Is it the position of the Republican Party that the 11 million must be driven out? I have never been in that camp as being practical. I am in the camp of securing our borders first, fixing a broken legal immigration, have an E-Verify program so you can't cheat.
Q: Isn't the president saying, "you have got to deal with the 11 million?"
GRAHAM: No, he decided not to delay prosecution, but affirmatively granted legal status to five million people.
GRAHAM: There will be no money for supplemental [budget bills] without changes in the 2008 law. We have to streamline and quicken deportations. There'll be no immigration reform because of the crisis on the border. I blame Obama for this moment. But in 2015, if we start over, and the Republican Party doesn't get immigration reform right in 2015, our chances in 2016 of winning the White House are very low.
GRAHAM: We practically militarized the border. I have been hearing for years, "let's secure our border, let's regain our sovereignty." We have secured our border in a way I could not have imagined five years ago. This whole border security amendment, I think, is the most aggressive attempt to control the southern border and regain our sovereignty. This bill reduces our deficit by $890 billion. It is good for our economy. This bill is good for our national security. No one can get a green card until border security measures are up and running, until E-Verify is up and running controlling a job in America.
GRAHAM: As to the 11 million [illegal immigrants here now], they will have an earned, hard pathway to citizenship. They have to get in the back of the line before they can become citizens. They can't cut in line. They have to pass two English proficiency exams. I reject the idea of becoming the Mideast or Europe where you have 11 million people with a legal status who can't be part of America. America is different than the Mideast and Europe. E pluribus unum, out of many, one. This is tough practical solution for our national security, for our economy and tough, practical solution to 11 million. And most importantly, if we do the bill, amnesty is the status quo. If we do this bill, there will be no third wave of illegal immigration.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO ON TABLING MOTION:Sen. VITTER: There are so-called sanctuary cities which establish as an official policy of their jurisdiction: We are not going to cooperate with Federal immigration enforcement officials. That is wrong. What is more, it is completely contrary to Federal immigration law. My amendment says: We are going to put some consequence to that defiance of Federal law. We are not going to give them COPS funds. We are going to send those funds, instead, to all of those other jurisdictions which abide by Federal law.OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES ON TABLING MOTION:Sen. DURBIN: There are sanctuary cities in about 23 different States across America. What the Vitter amendment will do is to take away the COPS funding from those cities. Police departments will tell you they need the cooperation of everyone to solve crimes and stop crime. If you create fear in the minds of those who are here in an undocumented status that any cooperation with the police will result in their arrest, they will not cooperate and criminals will go free. Let's not use the COPS Program as some sort of threat. If you want to deal with immigration, deal with it responsibly in a comprehensive way. SUPPORTER'S RESPONSE:Sen. VITTER: If folks feel that way, they should come to Congress and change Federal law, not simply defy Federal law. This is another amnesty vote. Are we going to give folks in sanctuary cities amnesty for defying Federal law and refusing to cooperate with Federal immigration officials? LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Motion to Table Agreed to, 58-40
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
If we do not legislate now, we will not legislate later this year when our calendar is crowded with Iraq and appropriations bills. We are then an election year, and it will be pushed over to 2009. Circumstances will not be better then, they will be worse.
A vote against cloture is a vote to kill the bill. A Senator may vote for cloture and then express himself in opposition to the bill by voting against the bill.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
If this bill becomes law, we will see only a 13% reduction in illegal immigration into America, and in the next 20 years we will have another 8.7 million illegals in our country. How can that be reformed? I submit this would be a disaster.
The Congressional telephone systems have shut down because of the mass phone calls Congress is receiving. A decent respect for the views of the American people says let's stop here now. Let's go back to the drawing board and come up with a bill that will work.
The American people get it, and they do have common sense and wisdom on this issue. They know repeating the fundamental mistakes of the 1986 bill, joining a big amnesty with inadequate enforcement, will cause the problem to grow and not diminish. They know promising enforcement after 30 years of broken promises isn't good enough. They know the so-called trigger is a joke because if the trigger is never pulled, the Z visas, the amnesty happens forever.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
Right now, the polling shows that 91% of the people in America want English as an official language, and 76% of Hispanics believe English should be an official language.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
I believe the American people understand in order to succeed in our society, immigrants need to learn English. But the amendment would do a number of things that are problematical. The first is that it is contrary to the provisions of law that exist in many States. For example, in New Mexico, you have in their State Constitution, a provision that says that many of the documents within that State have to be provided in both English and Spanish. The same thing is true for the State of Hawaii. I believe this is a States rights issue, and those constitutions of those States ought to be respected. I do not believe it is a matter we ought to be imposing here from Washington DC.
Also, this amendment would undo an executive order conceived by President Bill Clinton and implemented by President George Bush. Both recognized it is important that people who have limited English proficiency receive the kinds of services so they can understand what is going on in terms of the interface between the Government and themselves.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
This legislation says we wish to add something called guest workers or temporary workers. With guest workers, working Americans would discover there is no opportunity for upward mobility at their job. In fact, every day their employers are trying to find ways to push down wages, eliminate retirement, and eliminate health care. What has happened in this country, with what is called the "new global economy," is dramatic downward pressure on income for American workers. The guest worker program provides that 400,000 people will be able to come in to assume jobs in our country per year--adding to the 12 million illegal immigrants already here.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
I certainly concur about the need to secure our borders, about the need to have a workable immigration system, and the need for reform that ensures the rule of law is restored in the US. Where I differ is in the belief that we can actually achieve these goals if we have no ability for temporary workers to come to the country. This amendment would eliminate the temporary worker program from this bill.
Now, there are several reasons why a temporary worker program, within certain constraints, is a good idea. The first reason is because it will help to relieve the magnet for illegal immigration. The reason most of the people are crossing our border illegally is to get employment. There are jobs available for them. Some people say this is work Americans will not do. That is actually not true. But there are not enough American citizens to do all of the work that needs to be done. So naturally the law of supply and demand sets in here. People come across the border illegally, and they take that work. What we want to do is both close the border, but also eliminate the magnet for illegal employment here, because the reality is desperate people will always try to find some way to get into the country.
Proponents support voting YES because:
It is obvious there is no more defining issue in our Nation today than stopping illegal immigration. The most basic obligation of any government is to secure the Nation's borders. One issue in which there appears to be a consensus between the Senate and the House is on the issue of building a secure fence. So rather than wait until comprehensive legislation is enacted, we should move forward on targeted legislation which is effective and meaningful. The legislation today provides over 700 miles of Within 18 months, achieves operational control over U.S. land and maritime borders, including:
Proponents support voting YES because:
It is obvious there is no more defining issue in our Nation today than stopping illegal immigration. The most basic obligation of any government is to secure the Nation's borders. One issue in which there appears to be a consensus between the Senate and the House is on the issue of building a secure fence. So rather than wait until comprehensive legislation is enacted, we should move forward on targeted legislation which is effective and meaningful. The legislation today provides over 700 miles of
To reduce document fraud, prevent identity theft, and preserve the integrity of the Social Security system, by ensuring that persons who receive an adjustment of status under this bill are not able to receive Social Security benefits as a result of unlawful activity.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. McCAIN: This bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform legislation is designed to fix our Nation's broken immigration system. While in previous years we worked independently on immigration reform legislation, we are coming together today to introduce what we believe is groundbreaking, comprehensive legislation. Over a year ago, the President laid out a framework for what comprehensive immigration reform should look like. We have used the President's framework to craft this package.
The simple fact is that America's immigration system is broken. Recent vigilante activities along the southwestern border have shown that the current situation is not sustainable. Americans are frustrated with our lack of border security and our inability to control illegal immigration.
Make no mistake, this is not an amnesty bill. We are not here to reward law-breakers, and any accusations to the contrary are patently untrue. This bill recognizes the problems inherent in the current system and provides a logical and effective means to address these problems. It would be impossible to identify and round up all 10 to 11 million of the current undocumented, and if we did, it would ground our Nation's economy to a halt. These millions of people are working. Aliens will not come forward to simply "report and deport." We have a national interest in identifying these individuals, incentivizing them to come forward out of the shadows, go through security background checks, pay back taxes, pay penalties for breaking the law, learn to speak English, and regularize their status. Anyone who thinks this goal can be achieved without providing an eventual path to a permanent legal status is not serious about solving this problem.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on the Judiciary; never came to a vote. [The famous McCain-Kennedy legislation which DID come to a vote was the 2007 version of this bill].
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 USBC scores as follows:
U.S. Border Control, founded in 1988, is a non-profit, tax-exempt, citizen's lobby. USBC is dedicated to ending illegal immigration by securing our nation's borders and reforming our immigration policies. USBC [works with] Congressmen to stop amnesty; seal our borders against terrorism and illegal immigration; and, preserve our nation's language, culture and American way of life for future generations.
Our organization accepts no financial support from any branch of government. All our support comes from concerned citizens who appreciate the work we are doing to seal our borders against drugs, disease, illegal migration and terrorism and wish to preserve our nation's language, culture and heritage for the next generations.
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:
EXCERPTS FROM BILL:
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