Lindsey Graham Urges More Border Wall Talks Before National Emergency Declaration

Lindsey Graham
AP/Rainier Ehrhardt

Sen. Lindsey Graham says he will back a national emergency declaration after President Donald Trump spends three more weeks offering an amnesty deal in exchange for border wall funding.

“I am going to support him,” Lindsey Graham told Fox News Sunday. But first, Graham added, Trump must try to reach a border wall deal with Democrats:

Before he [gives up] on the legislative option, and I think we are almost there, I would urge them to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks before he pulls the plug, see if we can get a deal. If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off, see if he can do it by himself through the emergency powers. That’s my recommendation.

Graham’s promised support for emergency powers would be valuable because the House and Senate can jointly override any emergency declaration by the president. Graham chairs the Senates judiciary committee.

During the three weeks, “the plan is to do a deal” instead of a national emergency, Graham said. He described the supposed deal as a wall funding in exchange for amnesty of the three million DACA illegal aliens plus a giveaway of citizenship to 400,000 people who allowed to live and work in the United States under a “Temporary Protected Status” permit. Graham said:

He is willing, in my view, to do wall plus. Funding for the wall that we desperately need that’s been done in the past. See if we can do a deal around the TPS recipients who are going to lose their legal status … there are about 400,000. They are going to lose their legal status soon. He’s willing to extend that. The DACA recipients, they are all tied up in court but I think he would give them work permits for three years, one-time renewable if you could get wall funding.

Graham’s claim about Trump’s willingness to negotiate a DACA amnesty runs counter to repeated statements from Trump and his deputies that the Supreme Court must first rule on the legality of President Barack Obama’s DACA amnesty.

But on January 11, Trump suggested that a broader immigration deal could be negotiated simultaneously with negotiations over border wall funding. According to the official transcript:

Q. Mr. President, on the DACA wall,  a bigger immigration deal, are you saying you would only consider a broader immigration agreement after you get the wall money?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I would do it simultaneously, but I’d like to see them move fast. The nice part about the wall, or the barrier, is I can have that worked out — in 15 minutes we can start construction. We’re already building. But now we would be able to carry the construction through. We actually have a fantastic design that’s going to be efficient and fast and really, really work well.

On Sunday, Trump also suggested that a DACA deal could be folded into a border wall deal:

Graham is a consistent advocate for greater immigration of foreign workers and consumers. In 2012, for example, he pushed Sen. Chuck Schumer to jointly launch the Gang of Eight” amnesty and cheap labor campaign. He told reporters on January 21:

We need more legal immigration. … I don’t want green cards just for computer engineers. If you are out there working in the fields, if you are a construction worker, I want some of those people to have a way to stay here, because if you are running a business and you have a guest worker who is really good, and would add value to our country, I want them to have a chance to get a green card. I just don’t want to be a country in the future of just computer engineers or high-tech people.

Graham is trying to persuade Democrats to accept the wall-f0r-amnesty-plus-giveaway deal during the next three weeks. Graham told Fox that Deleware Sen. Chris Coons is “a great guy. We could sit down to make a deal with him: wall plus DACA, wall plus TPS.”

In response, Coons told Fox, “Well, I agree with the advice that Lindsey Graham just gave to President Trump, which is that he should reopen the government and we should spend several weeks negotiating over what we can all agree on.”

But Trump must make a public concession before Democrats will negotiate, said Coons:

I think the president should test that by making it clear what concessions and what compromise he’s willing to put forward. Look, Chris, you know me, I work with Republicans regularly. I’ve been on the phone with a half-dozen Democratic and Republican senators in recent weeks and several different efforts by Republican senators to negotiate a compromise, got cold water thrown in them the next day by the president publicly, even one effort that was being led by Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump has already made several concessions, and Democrats have not moved from their no-wall stance.

Nationwide, the U.S. establishment’s economic policy of using legal migration to boost economic growth shifts wealth from young people towards older people by flooding the market with cheap white-collar and blue-collar foreign labor. That flood of outside labor spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor of blue-collar and white-collar employees.

The cheap labor policy widens wealth gaps, reduces high tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high tech careers, and sidelines at least five million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions.

Immigration also steers investment and wealth away from towns in Heartland states because coastal investors can more easily hire and supervise the large immigrant populations who prefer to live in coastal cities. In turn, that investment flow drives up coastal real estate prices, pricing poor U.S. Latinos and blacks out of prosperous cities, such as Berkeley and Oakland.


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