Senator Lindsey Graham ‒ one of the Gang of Eight responsible for creating the immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013, only to see it grind to a standstill in the House of Representatives ‒ says that the Republican Party will have an “almost non-existent” chance of winning the presidential election in 2016 if it fails to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
“If we don’t at least make a down payment on solving the problem and rationally dealing with the 11 million [people in the country illegally], if we become the party of self-deportation in 2015 and 2016, then the chance of winning the White House, I think, is almost non-existent,” Graham told State of the Union on CNN in an interview posted on Sunday.
Graham also says that the Republicans should take steps to help those undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, who are known as ‘Dreamers’ due to President Obama’s 2012 Dream Act legislation. Graham notes that if his party cannot deal with these people in a balanced and fair manner after the border has been secured then the party will have little future in the eyes of the ever-growing Hispanic community in the country.
It has been speculated that Graham might run for president. He gave no firm answer either way, saying that he will make a decision next year; however, he voiced support for former Florida governor Jeb Bush, a supporter of immigration reform, saying that he would be “an excellent candidate”.