WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Republican Senator Lindsey Graham pushed the “The Secure and Protect Act” through the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Graham said the bill addresses the crisis-level influx of migrants seeking entry into the United States at the southern border.
“The problem is getting to be unmanageable,” Graham said.
Graham bypassed procedures and forced a committee vote to send his immigration bill to the Senate floor. Graham said the crisis at the border has left him no choice.
“We’ve done nothing to stop the flow until today,” Graham said.
The move drew sharp criticism from committee Democrats, who said it’s a purely Republican plan that would do more harm than good.
“We are in a majority free for all in which no rule, no procedure, no principle, no protocol,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-Rhode Island.)
But Graham said drastic measures are needed to fix the broken immigration system. Graham’s bill would require migrants to apply for asylum in their home countries, not the United States. It would also allow U.S. immigration officials to detain migrant families with children for up to 100 days.
“How fitting Republicans end another work period by helping President Trump continue his un-American, inhumane and highly unpopular immigration policies,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D).
Senator Schumer said Graham’s bill doesn’t do enough to help asylum seekers. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) said the bill doesn’t stand a chance.
“It will never become law, every one of us knows that this bill will never become law,” Leahy said.
Still, Graham was able to gain the support needed to pass the bill out of committee and he’s optimistic it will move forward in Congress.
“We’re gonna keep trying and we’re going to report this bill out because it will fix the problem in terms of flow.”
Lawmakers from both parties say they want solutions for the border crisis but they remain divided on a path forward.