WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement following a bipartisan immigration meeting with his Senate colleagues.
“I am extremely pleased with the number of senators – from both sides of the aisle – who accepted my invitation to meet in the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) room. The purpose of this meeting is to find a process that will allow the Senate to find its voice on immigration before the February 8 deadline.
“The SASC hearing room was chosen for a purpose – to remind us that the task ahead goes way beyond immigration. In fact, one of the most important issues that remains on my agenda is ensuring we meet the needs of our men and women in uniform who continue to be hurt by continuing resolutions and sequestration.
“On immigration, I have been discussing with my friend and colleague, Senator Alexander, a way the Senate can find its voice in order to secure our border and deal with the DACA population. As I’ve learned from experience – if immigration were easy to fix, we would have solved the problem a long time ago.
“Under our proposal, all bipartisan solutions on immigration – whether securing the border, addressing chain migration or the visa lottery, providing a solution to the status of DACA recipients, or other – would be submitted to Senators Cornyn and Durbin.
“In addition to being the Majority and Minority Whips, they are the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Immigration Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, and have earned the confidence of their colleagues. They also have a deep understanding of immigration and have been working on this issue for more than a decade. Senators Cornyn and Durbin have agreed to act as a clearinghouse for bipartisan proposals.
“My hope is that we can reach an agreement before February 8. However, if we fail, this process would allow the Senate Majority Leader some understanding of what a neutral vehicle would look like in terms of starting the floor debate. But ultimately, the decision remains with the Majority Leader and I’m hopeful we can come to agreement before that point.
“I truly appreciate the willingness of Senators Cornyn and Durbin to lead this effort and the willingness of a large number of senators to be an active part of this process.
“Senators Collins and Manchin will continue to host bipartisan meetings – as they did over the weekend – to find a way forward on immigration, including addressing border security and DACA recipients. We have created a process for input. The goal is to create an output that’s good for America.
“Finally, when it comes to immigration, the path of least resistance is to do nothing and look the other way. But doing nothing and looking the other way actually created the mess we find ourselves in today. We cannot do that any longer.”