Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stated on Tuesday that Democrats refuse to work across the aisle on America’s worsening critical issue of illegal immigration because they hate President Donald Trump.
“Why has such an important issue because so political?” ‘Fox & Friends’ host Steve Doocy asked the South Carolina senator.
“They hate Trump.” Graham responded. “Send people to Washington who don’t hate Trump.”
Graham noted that he has spent the better part of a decade working both behind the scenes and in public to strike a deal with Democratic lawmakers on American border security and immigration policies.
While he has been a staunch supporter of the president’s call to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Graham has also floated left-wing ideas such as codifying protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, an Obama-era program that protects nearly one million illegal immigrants from deportation. He has also proposed extending the legal status of more than a quarter of a million Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders in exchange for border wall funding.
Democrats claim that allowing DACA and TPS recipients to remain in the country are keystone policies of their immigration platform.
Graham, however, is so moderate on immigration that his proposals have often been mocked by members of the Right as “Grahamnesty,” in reference to its near-like amnesty. Regardless, Democrats have refused to work with him to ease the immigration crisis.
“I’ve done everything I know to do. I’ve talked. I’ve turned blue in the face,” Graham said. “I can’t get one Democrat to agree with me that you should apply for asylum in Central America or Mexico, not the United States because we don’t have the capability to deal with asylum claims and most of them are fraudulent.”
“I can’t get one Democrat to agree to allow children to be held with their families humanely for 40, 50, or 100 days so we can process their claims. They literally want them to be released in the United States,” he continued. “They continue a practice of asylum being applied for in the United States that has a never ending trail, and the trail to get here is terrible for women and children. They will not work with me, they will not work with President Trump.”
“I am dumbfounded as to why we can’t find compromise,” he added.
Graham’s remarks come on the heels of a new immigration policy that the White House unveiled last week. Accordingly, the Department of Homeland Security will be using a loophole around the Flores Agreement where families who cross illegally over the border will be placed together in “family residential centers.” Immigration officials will therefore be able to hold the families until they are processed, rather than separating children from accompanying adults so they do not violate the statute against holding children for more than 20-days.
Nineteen states and Washington D.C. are suing the Trump administration for amending the longstanding court order.
“Shame on these states, shame on the District of Columbia,” Graham replied. “The Congress should change our laws to allow you to hold minor children and their families long enough to process their claims so you don’t let them out into the interior of the country.”