Mar 11 2010

Graham Meets with President on Immigration

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today met with President Obama and Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) to discuss immigration.  President Obama invited the Senators to the White House. 

“We had a productive meeting with the President and provided him with a status report on our work on this issue. 

“Our framework remains a work in progress. The President welcomed the framework and indicated that he needs time to review the structure.  We will share our ideas with our colleagues in the weeks ahead, so we can finally solve this difficult problem.  The one goal above all others I am committed to is making sure our efforts break the seemingly endless cycle of illegal immigration once and for all.  

“Senator Schumer and I have explored some ideas on how we could effectively move forward on this issue.  This includes living up to our commitments to secure the our nation’s borders, pushing to move our nation toward a biometric Social Security card to ensure illegal workers cannot get jobs, creation of a temporary worker program and a rational plan to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States. 

“Senator Schumer and I also noted to the President our progress in completing the framework has been slowed by issues we need his team and him personally to actively engage on.  The President committed to help resolve outstanding issues as well as seek bipartisan support for moving forward.  These include ‘virtual fencing’ along the southern border which has proven much more complex and difficult to implement than originally expected.  The Administration must make this a priority as securing our borders is a confidence building measure in the eyes of the American people.  I also encouraged the Administration to become engaged with the unions on the creation of a temporary worker program which meets the needs of business community.  

“I expressed, in no uncertain terms, my belief that immigration reform could come to a halt for the year if health care reconciliation goes forward.  For more than a year, health care has sucked most of the energy out of the room.  Using reconciliation to push health care through will make it much harder for Congress to come together on a topic as important as immigration. 

“Senator Schumer and I told the President we will continue to work on this issue.  Our immigration system remains broken and in desperate need of repair.  We need workable and enforceable immigration laws that protect our national security and our economic well-being.  Success on a comprehensive solution will require a broad, bipartisan coalition working together.  We understand building that coalition will require time and strong leadership and involvement from the President, the business community, labor and all corners of American society.”