Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is bullish about the chances of an immigration reform bill passing the Senate — and he says Republicans need to pass it to avoid falling further into a “demographic death spiral” that could hurt their chances in the next two big election cycles.
“If we don’t pass immigration reform, if we don’t get it off the table in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn’t matter who you run in 2016,” Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
“We’re in a demographic death spiral as a party, and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community, in my view, is pass comprehensive immigration reform. If you don’t do that, it really doesn’t matter who we run, in my view.”
Graham made his comments as the Senate is in the midst of debate over the bill co-sponsored by him and seven other bipartisan senators. The Senate voted to open debate on the bill by an overwhelming 82-15 margin last week.
Graham said he’s “never been more optimistic” about the bill’s chances in the chamber. In fact, he thinks it will pass with flying colours.
“I think we’re going to have a political breakthrough, that Congress is going to pass immigration reform,” Graham said. “I think we’re going to get plus 70 votes. I’ve never been more optimistic about it.”
One of the main sticking points left on the bill is some Republican senators’ insistence that its current border security “trigger” provisions are beefed up before passage. That includes Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), one of the “Gang of Eight” members.
On ABC’s “This Week,” Rubio wouldn’t commit to voting for his bill if the border security measures aren’t improved.
“At the end of the day, the only way we’re going to pass an immigration reform law out of the House and Senate so the president can sign it is, that it has real border security measures within it,” Rubio said.
Watch the clip of Graham below:
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