U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday that he is preparing a bill that would protect immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children because "it’s the right thing to do."
The S.C. Republican said he is 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 get 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 added, "(T)here is bipartisan support to go ahead and give these people legal status. ... I don’t see how we help the cause of fixing immigration reform, to entice people out the shadows, and pull the rug out from under them. I don’t want to do that."
During the presidential campaign, Trump vowed to rescind Obama’s immigration orders. Many congressional Democrats and groups who support a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws have called on Trump to reconsider.
Almost six of every 10 South Carolinians think illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements should be allowed to become U.S. citizens, according to a recent Winthrop Poll. However, only four in 10 S.C. members of Graham’s GOP or GOP-leaning voters agreed.
"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.