Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday that he was preparing a bill that would protect from deportation immigrants who’d entered the United States illegally as children, because “it’s the right thing to do.”
Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said he was crafting the bill in anticipation of President-elect Donald Trump revoking President Barack Obama’s 2012 directive that protects 740,000 so-called “Dreamers” from being deported and allows them to obtain work permits.
“I hope members of Congress will say, ‘Listen, if we repeal the executive order the right thing to do – the thing that will make America great – is to deal with these kids humanely and fix this problem comprehensively,’ ” Graham said Thursday. “It’s not a substitute for immigration reform; it’s just the right thing to do.”
Graham said, “I want to have the legislation ready, saying that there is bipartisan support to go ahead and give these people legal status.”
“Whatever status they have today, to continue that for a period of time so we can work this out,” he added. “I don’t see how we help the cause of fixing immigration reform to entice people out of the shadows and pull the rug out from under them. I don’t want to do that.”
Trump, during the presidential campaign, vowed to rescind Obama’s immigration executive orders. Many congressional Democrats and groups supporting a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws have called on Trump to reconsider.
“I want Trump to do the right thing, which would be to repeal the executive order but not ruin these kid’s lives until we have a chance to fix it,” Graham said.