Sen. Linsdey Graham (R-SC) met with President Donald Trump over lunch on Sunday and suggested a new deal in which the president would renew 700,000 work permits in exchange for $5 billion towards border security.
The premise upon which Graham’s deal is based is that Trump would win the court case currently working its way through the system about the legality of the administration’s decision to cancel President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Trump’s decision was blocked by a California court, whose ruling is still awaiting an appeal decision before the Ninth Circuit.
There would be no deal in which Trump offered legal status to all DACA-eligible illegal aliens — those brought to the U.S. as minors, even if they did not apply for DACA status — according to Graham. The veteran South Carolina Senator, a long-time advocate for immigration reform, said that even he would not provide DACA for $5 billion, because Democrats had refused to provide Trump with the full $25 billion requested for a border wall in return for legalization of all DACA-eligible illegal aliens earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Graham said, Democrats might pass a new budget resolution in the House when they formally take the majority on Thursday, to re-open those parts of the government that had been shut down, but Trump would not sign it without at least $5 billion for border security. He suggested that the Senate would therefore never even consider that option.
“The president is firm in his commitment to make sure we get money for border security, and there will never be a 60-vote deal in the Senate that doesn’t include money for border security-slash-wall. And I don’t see Democrats giving us more money unless they get something,” he said (via CNN).
He added that the $5 billion would pay for “border security-slash-wall-slash-fencing, whatever you want to call it, in areas that make sense.”
He said that he might re-introduce a bipartisan proposal from three years ago called the “Bridge Act,” which he introduced with Sen. Dick Durban (D-IL), to protect the 700,000 DACA recipients for three years, with one renewal.
Graham said that while the president had not committed to the deal proposal, it was the “outline of a potential breakthrough.” He said Trump was “open-minded” about “combining wall funding with other things.”
Graham also said that Trump wanted to destroy the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, before pulling U.S. troops out of Syria: “We’re inside the 10-yard-line.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.