May 18 2006
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 10-8 vote. It is scheduled to come before the full Senate this summer. Graham said: “Traditional marriage is now under attack. That’s why I support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. “Marriage is one of the oldest and strongest institutions in our culture. If someone wants to change what marriage means, it should come about through the constitutional process and actions of the peoples’ elected representatives, not the courts.” #####
May 17 2006
Wes Hickman (202) 224-5972 or Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today supported construction of at least 370 miles of triple-layer fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers at strategic locations along the U.S. – Mexico border. The new fencing will primarily be constructed in urban areas where today immigrants can literally walk into the United States. “The first issue to address in immigration reform must be border security,” said Graham. “Our borders are clearly broken. Over the last decade, the number of people illegally crossing the border has dramatically increased. There’s no doubt we must do more to improve the security of our border and I’m glad our comprehensive immigration reform legislation addresses this important issue.” The amendment was offered by U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) and passed the Senate by a vote of 83-16. Graham noted the triple-layer fencing would be similar to the San Diego Border Fence, a state-of-the-art nearly impenetrable barrier which has made illegal entry into the U.S. much more difficult. “San Diego was once a haven for illegal crossings but the barrier nearly stopped the flood of border crossings from Mexico,” said Graham. “It worked and I believe we should expand it to protect additional miles of our border, particularly the urban border areas.” Graham noted that in addition to the Sessions amendment, the immigration reform bill has other provisions which toughen border security. They include the hiring of an additional 12,000 Border Patrol agents over the next five years and creation of a ‘virtual’ fence relying on cameras, motion detectors, and other technological devices to prevent illegal crossings in remote locations. The legislation also calls for the creation of additional fencing and barriers. “We must physically secure our border and that means more fencing, more barriers, and the use of more technology at our border,” said Graham. “Tougher border security is a vital and necessary component in comprehensive immigration reform. I’m pleased the Senate agreed to this amendment and look forward to tightening security along our nation’s borders.” #####
May 15 2006
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he supports the temporary use of National Guard troops to help secure our nation’s southern border. Graham is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Personnel of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“As a short-term measure, I support the use of National Guard troops at the border,” said Graham. “The Guard can act as a force multiplier freeing up more Border Patrol agents to pursue and apprehend those illegally crossing into the United States. This use of the Guard, on a temporary basis, makes sense and will be a shot in the arm to our border security efforts.”
“However, putting National Guard troops at the border is not a long-term strategy,” said Graham. “It should only be used until we can get an expanded Border Patrol up and running. An expanded Border Patrol, along with the use of additional fences, walls, and technology, are key ingredients in regaining control of our broken southern border.”
Graham noted the compromise immigration reform bill before the Senate authorizes the hiring of an additional 12,000 Border Patrol agents over the next five years. The compromise also calls for the building of fences and walls in certain high-traffic areas to prevent illegal crossings. In other areas, a ‘virtual’ fence relying on cameras, motion detectors, and other technological devices will be created.
Graham also authored a provision, accepted in committee, which gets more individuals with military backgrounds into the Border Patrol. Due to modernization, in the coming years we’re expected to have a reduced number of people serving in some areas of the military. These veterans, with years of military experience and training, are excellent candidates to serve in our expanded Border Patrol.
“Protecting the border is basically a law enforcement function,” said Graham. “While we do have military police units in the Guard, many of them have been activated several times in the War on Terror. I worry the Guard doesn’t have the manpower to handle a long-term deployment protecting the border.
“The Guard is already on call to assist with future hurricane relief efforts and would be needed if another terrorist attack occurred on American soil,” said Graham. “If this mission were to last more than eighteen to twenty-four months, we could end up doing more harm than good by making it more difficult to recruit and retain Guard members.”