In an Easter Sunday interview with Candy Crowley, on CNN's State of the Union program, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C., shown) said that an agreement on an immigration reform plan has been reached by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators.
Crowley noted that “big unions” and “big business” (referring to ongoing negotiations between the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) had agreed on a visa plan for low-skilled workers and asked Graham, “Is that it, have you got a deal now?”
"I think we've got a deal. We've got to write the legislation, but 2013, I hope, will be the year that we pass bipartisan immigration reform, signed into law with three goals."
Graham described his three goals as follows:
To do the bill in such a fashion to prevent a third wave of illegal immigration from happening in this country.
To make sure that the guest worker program is available to employers who can’t find an American worker, once you offer the job at a competitive wage.
And turn our chain migration family-based immigration system into a merit — based immigration system with a family component, ‘cause with our declining demographic we’re gonna need new workers coming to this country in the out years as our population declines….
Stopping that third wave means securing your border and controlling who gets a job in America. I think we’ve accomplished that in this bill and I believe it will pass.
Crowley asked: “So as far as you know, has the whole so-called “Gang of Eight” — four Republicans, four Democrats — in the Senate, are they ready, you’ve all agreed to everything, you’ve just got to write it up and do you believe that that bill could pass the House?"
“Yes, M’am," replied Graham.
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Photo of Sen. Lindsey Graham: AP Images