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Bipartisan Support for Border Security, Bipartisan Opposition to Comprehensive Reform This Year

May 5, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact:        Meghan Hughes or Kevin Bishop

May 5, 2010                                                             (202) 224-5972 / (864) 250-1417

Bipartisan Support for Border Security, Bipartisan Opposition to Comprehensive Reform This Year

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made these comments on reports President Obama is contacting Republican Senators encouraging them to join the partisan effort to address immigration.

“I wonder if the president is reaching out to Democratic Senators too?  I believe there are at least a double-digit number of Democratic Senators who would not support comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship today.  Has the President brought Senators Webb, Nelson (NE), Baucus, Byrd, McCaskill, Tester, Dorgan, Pryor, and Bingaman on board?  They did not support comprehensive immigration reform in 2007, but have supported stronger border security.  What about Senators Lincoln and Conrad, who voted in support of the 2007 effort.  Are they on board now?

“Let’s be clear, the lack of support for comprehensive immigration reform is not a Republican problem, it is an institutional problem.  There is just not the appetite – on either side of the aisle – for this issue right now.

“Until we secure the border, that dynamic is unlikely to change.  Americans have made it clear they want to see the border secured now.  I believe there are 80 votes for a border security bill this year and that is where we should focus our efforts.  Congressional passage of border security this year helps build support for comprehensive reform in the future.

“I also think it is incredibly disappointing that our Democratic colleagues brought this issue up for apparent partisan gain just months before an election.  This raw display of partisanship just makes it more difficult to address this very serious problem in the future. “

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