Jul 25 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today offered an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security funding legislation appropriating $3 billion for increased border security efforts. 

 

“There are at least half a dozen major changes in policy we have to make as a nation to get the problems of illegal immigration under control,” said Graham.  “The comprehensive approach, where we made all the necessary changes in one fell swoop, failed.  Just because it failed does not mean the problems posed by illegal immigration have gone away.

 

“We’re now moving to Plan B,” said Graham.  “That will require us to address the major changes that must be made a piece at a time.  Today, we’re addressing border security, visa overstays, sanctuary cities, and other important issues.  There’s no doubt that operational control of our southern border is a national security imperative.  We must regain control of our border and this much-need emergency funding will play an important role in making that happen.”

 

Graham noted Congressman Rahm Emanuel, a leading member of the Democratic House leadership, recently said comprehensive immigration reform will have to wait at least six years until the second term of a prospective Democratic presidency.

 

“Unlike Congressman Emanuel, I do not believe we can wait years to address our nation’s pressing and urgent immigration problems,” said Graham.  “My amendment contains many of the provisions that were in the Senate immigration bill and Graham-Kyl-Martinez.  These are the provisions of immigration reform where there is broad consensus.  They should be enacted.” 

 

The Graham Amendment is cosponsored by Senators Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire), John Cornyn (R-TX), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), John McCain (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Mel Martinez (R-FL), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and John Sununu (R-NH).

 

The major provisions include additional funding and policy changes affecting our nation’s border security and interior enforcement efforts:

 

Border Security:

 

 

  • The U.S. government must achieve full operational control over 100 percent of the U.S.-Mexico land border.

 

  • The hiring, training and deploying of 23,000 Border Patrol agents.

 

  • 4 unmanned aerial vehicles and 105 ground-based radar and camera towers.

 

  • 300 miles of permanent vehicle barriers and 700 miles of border fencing.

 

  • 45,000 detention beds to put a permanent end to ‘Catch and Release.’

 

Interior Enforcement:

 

 

  • Requires a total of 14,500 new Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) agents through Fiscal Year 2012 – a total of approximately 30,000 CBP agents overall – as well as increased hires of new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

 

  • Addresses the issue of Sanctuary Cities by prohibiting cities from banning the obtaining of information on immigration status by their own law enforcement agencies.

 

  • Builds upon the King Amendment in the House of Representatives, which grants civil liability protection to those who report possible threats to our nation’s transportation system.

 

  • Provides additional funding for Operation Jump Start which maintains a National Guard presence along the Southern border.

 

  • Strengthens current law on criminal aliens to deny immigration benefits to aggravated felons, gang members, terrorists, sex offenders, and child abusers.  The bill also expands the Institutional Removal Program and gives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the ability to detain criminal aliens for an extended period of time before they can be removed.

 

  • Gives states and local law enforcement new authorities to detain illegal aliens and transfer them into DHS custody.  It also allows state and local law enforcement authorities to use homeland security grants for 287(g) training and provides funding to cover the costs of detaining and transporting criminal aliens.

 

  • Addresses Visa Overstays by requiring DHS to detain aliens who willfully overstay their period of authorized admission for more than 60 days.

 

  • Addresses illegal reentry by increasing criminal penalties and sets mandatory minimum prison sentences for aliens who have been removed and illegally re-enter our country.

 

  • Provides for Expedited Removal by restricting the impact of outdated court injunctions that currently prevent DHS from transferring certain illegal immigrants into expedited removal and returning them to their country of origin as soon as circumstances allow.

 

  • Addresses US-Visit and Entry Inspecting by clarifying DHS’s authority to collect biometric entry and exit data at U.S. ports of entry.  It also requires DHS to provide Congress a timeline for implementing US-VISIT at all land border ports of entry.

 

  • Requires DHS to enhance Basic Pilot Program to help facilitate broader us by employers as well as improve accuracy and efficiency.

 

“What we do today in my amendment is an important step, but certainly not the only step, to get a handle on illegal immigration,” said Graham.  “As a nation, we still need a more robust electronic employee verification system (EEVS), a merit-based immigration system, assimilation programs to ensure people understand English, a method to ensure everyone is paying taxes, a temporary guest worker program for people who want to come here, make money and return to their home country, and other changes.”

 

“We are serious about border security and this again shows the commitment to do whatever is necessary to regain control of our borders,” said Graham. “The sooner we get a handle on the problems associated with illegal immigration, the better off our nation will be. 

 

“This amendment is a step in the right direction and the beginning of what I expect will be a longer, more drawn out effort to reform our nation’s immigration practices,” concluded Graham.

 

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Jul 23 2007

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced South Carolina will receive more than $11 million for homeland security initiatives throughout the state.

South Carolina will receive:

  • $6,130,000 from the State Homeland Security Program. These funds build capabilities at the state and local level through planning, equipment, training, and exercise activities.  Funds may also be used to support the implementation of state homeland security strategies and key elements of the national preparedness architecture.
  • $4,380,000 from the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program. These funds support law enforcement and public safety activities to prevent terrorist attacks, such as establishing and enhancing fusion centers and collaborating with non-law enforcement partners.
  • $258,145 from the Metropolitan Medical Response System. These funds support planning and preparation activities for large-scale medical response for any catastrophic event.
  • $232,655 from the Citizen Corp Program. These funds are used to support activities that promote community involvement in emergency preparedness, planning, mitigation, response, and recovery.

The funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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Jul 23 2007

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced $10.5 million in federal grants for airports in South Carolina.

“South Carolina’s airports are a vital part of our state’s transportation infrastructure and play an integral role in our economy,” said Graham.  “These improvements will help recruit future investment and economic development.”

Award recipients in South Carolina include:

Anderson
South Carolina Department of Transportation will receive a $294,000 grant to conduct several statewide studies to address capital improvement plans, analysis of military airspace, and security.  The funds will be used for the installation of perimeter fencing at Anderson Regional Airport.

Barnwell
Barnwell County will receive a $1,062,863 grant to rehabilitate the taxiway and apron at Barnwell Regional Airport.

Berkeley
Berkeley County will receive a $374,590 grant to extend the taxiway at Berkeley County Airport.

Charleston
Charleston County Aviation Authority will receive a $1,322,520 grant to improve the access road at Charleston AFB/International Airport.  These funds will be added to a previously awarded grant of $1,798,687.

Chester
Chester County will receive a $51,344 grant to design apron expansions at Chester Catawba Regional Airport.

Clarendon
Clarendon County will receive a $526,451 grant for the construction of a hangar, apron, and taxiway at Santee Cooper Regional Airport.

Colleton
Walterboro will receive a $2,721,929 grant for construction of a taxiway at Lowcountry Regional Airport.

Dorchester
Dorchester County will receive a $126,250 grant to install perimeter fencing at the Summerville Airport.

Florence
Pee Dee Regional Airport Authority will receive a $288,325 grant to aid in the purchase of a new aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicle and baggage conveyor system at Florence Regional Airport.

Georgetown
Georgetown County will receive a $1,486,987 grant to extend a runway at Georgetown County Airport.

Greenwood
Greenwood County will receive a $258,409 grant to construct a hangar at Greenwood County Airport.

Horry
Horry County will receive a $40,000 grant to design a fuel farm and access road at the Conway-Horry County Airport.

Kershaw
Kershaw County will receive an $858,800 grant to construct a taxiway at Woodward Field.

Lee
Lee County will receive a $39,000 grant to design a taxiway and paved apron at Lee County-Butters Field.

Lexington
Lexington County will receive a $385,146 grant to install runway lighting at the Lexington County Pelion Airport.

Marlboro
Marlboro County will receive a $96,425 grant for land acquisition at the Marlboro County Jetport-H.E. Avant Field.

Orangeburg
The City of Orangeburg will receive a $110,000 grant to expand the apron at Orangeburg Municipal Airport.

Pickens
Pickens County will receive a $238,000 grant to design a new terminal building and to conduct a runway end survey at the Pickens County Airport.

Saluda
Saluda County will receive a $63,650 grant to install a runway vertical/visual guidance system at the Saluda County Airport.

Sumter
The City of Sumter will receive a $150,000 grant to construct a taxiway at Sumter Airport.

Williamsburg
Williamsburg County will receive a $61,233 grant to improve the runway safety area at Williamsburg Regional Airport.

All grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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Jul 18 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on his opposition to the Levin-Reed amendment which mandates American troop withdrawals from Iraq beginning in 120 days.  All American troops would need to be out of Iraq by May 2008.  The amendment was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 52-47. 
 
After the amendment was defeated, the Democratic leadership of the Senate decided to pull the defense authorization bill from the floor.  The legislation contains provisions to increase pay and benefits, and make available better equipment for our troops.
 
Graham on the Defeat of the Levin-Reed Amendment:
“This approach would be a disaster for our national security interests both in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.  Al Qaeda is now on the run in Iraq.  They would welcome and rejoice over an American plan to withdraw from the fight.  Local Iraqi populations are beginning to reject Al Qaeda and align themselves with us.  We are now taking territory from Al Qaeda in Iraq and holding it with the assistance of the local population. 
 
“A congressional mandate to withdraw would be heart-breaking and in all honesty a death sentence, to the Iraqi’s who are aligning with us against Al Qaeda in Iraq.  Had the Levin-Reed resolution passed, this ill-advised approach would have offered tremendous encouragement and spirit to our Al Qaeda enemies in Iraq.  It would have been international news that the United States does not have the stomach for this fight.  I’m proud of the role I played in rejecting this amendment.
 
“I believe it is important to give General Petraeus time to implement his new strategy for Iraq and to hear what he has to say when he comes before Congress in September.  Other Republicans, including some who were looking for the exits, stiffened their resolve after hearing about the progress being made on the ground with to the new strategy.  The surge is having an effect, both in Iraq and Washington.”
 
Graham on the Democratic Leadership’s Decision to Pull the Bill from the Senate Floor:
“The common ground we had in the Senate on pay raises, better equipment and improved health care for our troops gave way to the politics of the next election.  The Democratic leadership’s decision to pull the bill is yet another example of their choosing politics over policy.  I’m embarrassed for the Senate because we failed to focus on the needs and welfare of our troops.
 
“While the troops continue to make us proud, the Congress continues to disappoint.”

Jul 16 2007

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham was a guest on NBC Meet the Press on Sunday, July 15. Here is the video of the show and Senator Graham’s thoughts on the current situation in Iraq and the political debate in the U.S. Senate.

The video is located on the Meet the Press website at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032608.

Jul 11 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he was pleased with the decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to appoint Earle Joiner Bedenbaugh of Newberry County to serve on the Farm Service Agency’s state committee in South Carolina.

“I’m very pleased President Bush has decided to appoint Earle to this most important position,” said Graham.  “Earle has been a successful agri-businessman and is one of the finest individuals you will ever meet.  He understands our state’s agricultural community and will represent us well in this important position.”

FSA state committees are responsible for the general direction and supervision of state FSA programs.  Committees keep farmers informed of agency program activities while resolving appeals and complaints.  Members also maintain cooperative relationships with the agribusiness community.

Bedenbaugh has farmed for 32 years specializing in seed production, beef cattle and forestry.  As part of the farming operation, he conditioned and processed seed for wholesale and retail sales. 

Bedenbaugh was deputy administrator for state and county operations under the former Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) in Washington, D.C.  He also was the ASCS state executive director and a member of the ASCS state committee in South Carolina.  

Bedenbaugh is very active in many agricultural, government and civic organizations.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree in animal husbandry from Clemson University in South Carolina and served in the U.S. Air Force in the Korean War.

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Jul 11 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today traveled to the White House to meet with President Bush and discuss the current situation in Iraq .  He made this statement after the Oval Office meeting.

 

 

“I appreciate the opportunity to meet with President Bush and brief him on my recent visit to Iraq

 

 

“President Bush remains firm in his belief that we must give General Petraeus and our troops time to carry out the new strategy.  He understands the new strategy has already greatly diminished Al Qaeda in Iraq .  The military progress is undeniable, even if the Iraqi political reconciliation efforts have not been as successful. 

 

 

“General Petraeus is making great progress in crushing Al Qaeda in Iraq .  Al Qaeda overplayed their hand by engaging in incredible acts of brutality and barbarism against Iraqis living under their control.  In turn, Iraqis are breaking free from them and joining forces with us.  The only thing that would allow Al Qaeda in Iraq to make a comeback would be to prematurely stop the surge.

 

"The defeat of Al Qaeda in Iraq should be our Number 1 priority.  It will lead to a more stable Iraq and a safer world.”

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Jul 11 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Lieberman, McCain, Kyl, Graham, and Coleman today introduced a bipartisan amendment to the Defense Authorization Act, confronting the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran over its proxy attacks on American soldiers in Iraq .

 

 

The amendment details the publicly available evidence put forward over the past year by General David Petraeus, commanding general of Multi-National Force Iraq, and others about Iran’s violent and destabilizing activities in Iraq .

 

 

The amendment states that “the murder of members of the United States Armed Forces by a foreign government or its agents is an intolerable act of hostility against the United States,” and demands the government of Iran “take immediate action” to end all forms of support it is providing to Iraqi militias and insurgents. The amendment also mandates a regular report on Iran’s anti-coalition activity in Iraq .

 

 

“For many months, our military commanders and diplomats have warned us that the Iranian government has been training, equipping, arming, and funding proxies in Iraq who are murdering our troops,” said Senator Lieberman. “This amendment is a common sense, common ground statement of the Senate to Tehran : we know what you are doing, and you must stop.”

 

 

“American officials attest that the government in Teheran seeks to bleed the United States and render unsuccessful our efforts to bring about a stable and self-governing in Iraq ,” said Senator McCain.  “This amendment will send a clear signal:  Iran’s activities in Iraq are wrong, and they must end immediately.”

 

 

“The Iranians are attempting to thwart our policies in the Middle East by actively supporting terrorists who are killing our troops in Iraq ,” said Senator Kyl.  “It is time we acknowledge this hostility against us, and this amendment tells the Iranians we will not tolerate any actions which threaten our troops or allies.”

 

 

“The evidence is increasingly clear the Iranian government is working to destabilize the Iraqi government,” said Senator Graham.  “It is long past time for Congress to speak out about this destructive behavior by Iran .  We need one voice, and I expect it will be a unified bipartisan voice, speaking out and condemning these actions by the Iranian government.” 

 

 

“The United States will not tolerate Iran’s hostile attempts to sabotage our efforts in the Middle East region,” said Senator Coleman.  “On my last trip to Iraq, our Minnesota troops in Southern Iraq showed me Iranian-made explosives that were used against them on convoy missions. This crucial amendment makes it clear to the Iranian government, and any other government in the region that seeks to harm our soldiers, that providing any form of support to Iraqi insurgents will not be tolerated and must cease immediately.”
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Jul 03 2007

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Claflin University will receive a $2,499,999 scientific research grant.  The funds will be used for a project entitled, “Implementation: Building Successful Models for Research and Inquiry-Based Learning and Teaching."

The grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation.

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Jun 28 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the Senate immigration bill.

“Several months ago, I met with President Bush at the White House to discuss our out-of-control problems with illegal immigration.  He asked me if I would help him push immigration reform through Congress and I gave him my word I would.  I support President Bush and admire his leadership.  I will be forever grateful for his work to try and solve this difficult problem.

“President Bush and I made it clear we would not compromise on our guiding principle that securing our nation’s borders must be our first priority.  Our plan made unprecedented efforts and provided over $4.4 billion in funding to secure our nation’s borders and deal with immigration in a comprehensive manner. 

“The legislation first and foremost secured our border.  It also established a new comprehensive employee verification system for all workers to ensure people are in the country legally and eligible to work.  We were going to break the cycle of chain migration and institute a new merit-based immigration system to attract the best and brightest from around the world.  And we were instituting a temporary guest worker program to meet our nation’s labor needs.

“If the bill’s failing leads to Congress finding a better solution, then the American people will have won.  If the status quo and broken immigration system continue to go unaddressed, then the American people lost.  I do fear our failure to act will only allow the problem of illegal immigration to grow worse and the anger felt by some Americans will grow more intense. 

“I worry that local and state governments will begin to act more aggressively and create a hodge-podge of laws.  While the President’s legislation was not perfect, it was honest, realistic and an improvement over current law.  Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff, who is responsible for enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, made it clear that in some cases the tools he needs to control illegal immigration are either non-existent or very weak.  I’m disappointed some of the tools he wanted and desperately needed to control illegal immigration were left on the Senate floor.  

“The American people have a historically low view of Congress.  We seem unable to do the public’s business and find consensus on difficult issues. 

“Finally, I want to say a few words about my friend and colleague Jim DeMint.  We found ourselves in an unusual situation.  While we usually agree, President Bush and I have very different views from Jim on the best way to address this contentious issue.  Jim held firm to his beliefs and was a very strong advocate for his position.”

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