“To the people who object to this, I don’t want you to vote for me because I cannot serve you well,” he said in a Capitol Hill press conference July 20. He continued:
The key here is to be fair to the 11 million [illegal aliens], starting with the [2 million younger illegals] ‘Dreamers,’ but convince people we’re going to do what our great friend [President] Ronald Reagan was not able to do, [that] we’re going to actually secure the border, control who gets a job, [and] increase legal immigration so [foreign] people don’t have to cheat [by illegally immigrating]…
I’ve stopped letting 30 percent of the people who are mad about immigration determine how I behave. To those who feel like you should deport [younger illegals], boy, I couldn’t disagree with you more…
To President [Donald] Trump, you’re going to have to make a decision. The campaign is over. To the Republican Party: Who are we? What do we believe? . . . When they write the history of these times, I’m going to be with these kids.
Graham staged the press conference to advertise his new legislation to provide an amnesty to illegal immigrants who were brought to into the United States by their parents as youths or children before 2013. Democrats and Graham describe the younger illegals as “Dreamers,” even though some are in their 30s of 40s.
Graham’s announcement is likely intended to get him a seat at the expected D.C. negotiations over the popular “merit-based” productivity-boosting immigration reform being pushed by Trump. Pro-American immigration reformers generally support Trump’s plan, partly because it could reduce the inflow of cheap labor which reduces wages and salaries for Americans.
Roughly 1.5 million illegals would benefit immediately from Graham’s proposed amnesty, according to the pro-amnesty Migration Policy Institute. Another 1.8 million could also benefit, for example, if they go back to school to get a General Education Diploma. Also, the parents of the illegal could gain legal status once their children become citizens.
Those numbers add up to a gradual amnesty for roughly 4 million illegals. This amnesty could easily cost more than $2,000 billion, according to data provided in a 2013 study of amnesty costs. The 2013 study was prepared by the Heritage Foundation, and it showed that the extra taxpayer cost of amnestying 11 million illegals was $6,300 billion over 50 years.
At least 800,000 illegals are now being protected from repatriation — and have work permits and Social Security cards — because of former President Barack Obama’s 2012 “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” amnesty. Most of the so-called ‘Dreamers” are poorly educated, and only a small percentage have college degrees.
Graham also used the press conference to call for a greater inflow of foreigners into American jobs. Already, the federal government helps companies import more than 1.5 million temporary foreign workers each year, most of whom take outsourced white-collar jobs from Americans.
Each year, four million Americans turn 18 — but the federal government imports 1 million legal immigrants and roughly 1.5 million temporary outsourcing visa-workers to compete against young Americans for jobs.
Polls show that Graham’s support for foreign workers and illegal immigrants are very unpopular. For example, a 2017 poll showed 57 percent opposition to an amnesty and only 38 percent support. But Graham cites crude or skewed business-funded polls to declare that he has majority support for his expensive, wage-cutting amnesty plans.
Business groups say the 1.5 million temporary workers are needed to fill jobs, and the immigrants are needed to expand the economy by working and consuming. Also, say business advocates, the steady flow of foreign temporary workers and new immigrants into Americans jobs reduces the inflow of illegal immigrants who either cross the U.S border with Mexico or fly into the United with temporary tourist visas or business visas.
Graham is a long-standing advocate for amnesty and greater use of foreign workers in his home state. In 2012, for example, he phoned New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer to begin the so-called “Gang of Eight” amnesty-and-cheap-labor bill which would have transferred a huge share of the nation’s income from working Americans to Wall Street investors. According to Politico:
Schumer said that shortly after the November election, he received a call from South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) who wanted to restart negotiations on a comprehensive immigration package.
“Lindsey said ‘the band is back together!’” Schumer said.
Graham informed Schumer that McCain was on board as well.
“My heart went pitter patter,” Schumer said. “That meant we could get something done.”
That Gang of Eight bill was eventually defeated by GOP voters in 2014, opening the path for Donald Trump to win the GOP primaries.
Graham is unpopular in his home state, but he has strong support among the business groups — such as restaurants and coastal resorts — which profit from the cheap-labor arranged by Graham. He faces the primary voters again in 2020.
Graham’s 2017 amnesty is a joint partnership with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democratic leader in the Senate.
In his statement with Sen. Durbin, Graham said:
There are a lot of Republicans who make a point I agree with, ‘Well if you give these kids — who are all great kids — amnesty or legal status, aren’t you enticing more to come?’
The key here is to be fair to the 11 million [illegal immigrants], starting with the ‘Dreamers,’ but convince people we’re going to do what our great friend [President] Ronald Reagan was not able to do, [that] we’re going to actually secure the border, control who gets a job, increase legal immigration so people don’t have to cheat.
I wouldn’t be doing this unless I believe there’s a way forward to prevent the third wave [of after-amnesty illegals]. but these [young illegals] kids are running out of asphalt. They’re running out of runway. They came out of the shadows at the invitation of their government. They’ve identified themselves and their legal standing is now in question. It becomes, I think, almost a moral decision.
If you ask people to show yourself, identify yourself to your own government, and you do that, then you pull the rug out from under them, you take their legal status away, I just don’t think that’s what America is all about.
I think most Americans, including most Republicans, have like zero problem with allowing these kids to stay if they do the things I described. They’re not crooks, and that they did come here as young people, no fault of their own.
To the people who object to this, I don’t want you to vote for me because I cannot serve you well.
I just don’t see the upside of telling these kids they have to go back and live in the shadows or send them back to a country they have no idea about the country. If you send them back to their native country, some of them have never been there as anything other than a baby.
So I just think most Americans would support President Trump if we could work out a plan to deal with these kids and secure the border. I think most Republicans would.
So what have I done? I’ve stopped letting 30 percent of the people who are mad about immigration determine how I behave. To those who feel like you should deport these kids, boy, I couldn’t disagree with you more.