October 27, 2016
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Immigration Reform Group "Paging Sen Graham"

WashingtonD.C. - Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) indicated that he is walking away from climate change legislation. On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made clear that immigration reform is not more or less important than climate change, and indicated that the Senate would continue to work on both. The following is a statement from Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum and Chair of the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign.


Senator Graham has been making a lot of threats lately.  He threatened to derail immigration reform legislation if the Democrats decided to move forward on health care reform. He threatened to walk away from climate change legislation if the Democrats moved forward on immigration reform. He has publicly criticized the White House for not engaging in the immigration reform debate, not having their own bill, and not talking enough about the issue. Now that the Administration has paid heed to his comments and become actively involved by calling for immigration reform and proactively reaching out to Republican Senators on the issue, Graham is threatening to walk away from the immigration reform debate AND climate change legislation.


Immigration reform and climate change legislation are critically important for America, and contrary to Senator Graham's self serving position, they are not mutually exclusive. The American people expect their elected officials to take on tough issues and lead, not hide behind one or the other as an excuse to get nothing done.


Senator Graham and Senator Schumer have been working on immigration reform legislation for nearly a year - and in March released a framework of their legislation in the Washington Post - but it's clear now that Senator Graham has been slow-walking immigration reform. How else to explain yesterday's comments accusing Senate Democrats and the President of engaging in a 'cynical political ploy' for doing exactly as he asked and making immigration reform a priority? Senator Graham is trying to play two critical issues for the country against one another, but it won't work.


Now, more than ever, America needs strong principled leadership.  Is Senator Graham up to the task?  When Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070, she ushered onto the national stage a new low in anti-immigrant legislation despite broad condemnation from the Latino community, the civil rights community, the business community and some Republican leaders.  The broken immigration system is a crisis that must be addressed now, and no amount of political maneuvering or piece-meal enforcement or band-aid security measures will fix what's broken.  As leaders of all political stripes and ideologies wake up to the moral crisis triggered by Governor Brewer's signature, will the real Senator Graham step forward?







Katherine Vargas (202) 641-5198


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