South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called Mexico and other Latin American nations “hellholes” in a 2013 debate with the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The old comments came back to light as Graham blasted President Donald Trump after he reportedly used the term “shithole” to describe Haiti and El Salvador during a bipartisan immigration sit down Thursday. Although Trump has denied using the word, he has continued to face widespread criticism among from Democratic lawmakers and pundits quick to label the remark as “racist.”
In the 2013 debate Graham said people who are coming into the U.S. across the southern border live in “hellholes” and said the U.S. cannot accept everyone who lives in a “hellhole” as a citizen.
“The people coming across the southern border live in hellholes. They don’t like that,” Graham said. “They want to come here. Our problem is we can’t have everybody in the world who lives in a hellhole come to America.”
Graham is a longtime advocate of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. He was a co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill in June 2017 that would have offered a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. (RELATED: Graham Wants Trump To Create A Pathway To Citizenship For Illegal Immigrants)
“There are 11 million people coming through the southern border cause they come from countries where they can’t find work, and life is miserable.” Graham said. “So it seems to me that if you can control who gets a job you’ve gone a long way in controlling illegal immigration. Because as long as the jobs are available in America you can’t build a fence high enough to stop people.”
The Republican senator said he spoke directly to Trump about his “shithole” comment and that everyone who attended the meeting knows how he personally feels.
“Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday. The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel,” Graham said in a statement Friday.
Trump blasted Democratic lawmakers Sunday for failing to reach a compromise deal with Republicans on the future of the former President Barack Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
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