Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Sunday encouraged Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform because a recent amendment “practically militarized the border.”
According to Roll Call, a so-called “border surge” amendment would double the number of border agents to 40,000, complete 700 miles of new border fencing, deploy drones and other sensors, fully implement E-Verify and increase tracking on visas.
On Sunday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) told Fox News host Chris Wallace that he opposed the bill because a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would begin on “day one” but it would take years to implement border security.
Graham, however, suggested that fellow Republicans were making a mistake by opposing all reform bills with a path to citizenship.
“We’ve practically militarized the border,” he explained. “I’ve been hearing for years, let’s secure the border, let’s regain our sovereignty. We have secured our border in a way I could not have imagined four or 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, it is good for our national security,” Graham added. “Amnesty is the status quo. If we do this bill, there will be no third wave of illegal immigration.”
Wallace wondered why immigration reform could not be passed in multiple smaller bills as many Republicans have called for.
“Let’s look at this way, give the Republicans all the border security you want and all the legal immigration you want and trust the Republicans to deal fairly with the 11 million. That’s not going to sell to a Democrat,” Graham explained. “And I sure as hell am not going to accept an agreement where they get legalization on a pathway to citizenship then they give me border security then they give me legal immigration reform. You have to do it together.”
Watch this video from Fox News’ Fox News Sunday, broadcast June 23, 2013.