Lindsey Graham Plugs 'Border Surge' Amendment Despite Loopholes
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) took to Fox News Sunday this weekend to defend the latest version of the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill that incorporates, among other things, an amendment from Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND).
When host Chris Wallace asked Graham about how the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined that this bill would only stop 25% of the current flow of illegal immigration, Graham offered a brief response then quickly changed the subject. “They are talking about the entry-exit problem, 48 percent of the people here illegally overstayed their visas. There will be improvements in that area,” Graham said in response to Wallace, before shifting the conversation over to the Corker-Hoeven amendment.
Graham said the Corker-Hoeven amendment is something that “practically militarized the border.” Graham did not mention, and the subject was not brought up on the show, that there are loopholes that allow the Department of Homeland Security Secretary to choose to not comply, for whatever reason, and without congressional oversight, with any of those new enforcement mechanisms.
Nonetheless, Graham praised the promises of security in the amendment, even though they make not materialize. “This whole border security amendment, I think, is the most aggressive attempt to control the southern border and regain our sovereignty,” Graham said. “This bill reduces our deficit by $890 billion. It is good for our economy. This bill is good for our national security.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who was also on the show but is a staunch opponent of the current bill while supporting what he considers real immigration reform, said the new repackaged bill with the Corker-Hoeven amendment is “perhaps [the] worst of all” things the Gang of Eight has tried to sell to the American people.
“This is a provision few people have read and ever fewer understand,” Lee said of the Corker-Hoeven amendment process happening now.
Despite all the problems, Graham said the “bill will pass.”
“I think we are on the verge of getting 70 votes,” Graham said. “That is my goal. It's always been my goal. We are very, very close to 70 votes. The Hoeven-Corker Amendment I think gets us over the top.”
Lee agreed the bill will likely pass the senate, but does not think it should. “I think it is like to pass and I think it may well be along the margin Senator Graham suggested,” Lee said. “The sponsors of this bill had the best of intentions. In my opinion, the best intentions aren't enough when you’re dealing with a 1,200-page bill. They promised us that under this bill, illegal immigration would be a thing of the past. It won't. CBO told us this week that 10 years from now, we'll still have 6 million to 8 million illegal immigrants in this country.”
Lee added that the sponsors’ promise that this bill would be “tough” and “fair” has not turned out to be true either.
“They told us it would be tough but fair,” Lee said. “It's neither beneath[sic]. It's not tough on those who broke the law and it’s not fair to those patiently who’ve been patiently waiting in line to come to this country legally.”