Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham made a point-by-point case for President Donald Trump’s declared national emergency during a Wednesday night appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
Fox News host Sean Hannity introduced the topic by noting that Graham has “been in the forefront trying to urge [his] Senate colleagues that this is a national emergency.”
“Well, what did we learn today?” Graham began, referring to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s remarks before Congress about the sharp rise in border apprehensions. “We had the border patrol commissioner and DHS Secretary Neilsen testify that family apprehensions have gone up 335 percent. Unaccompanied minor apprehensions have gone up 55 percent compared to last year. That if you’re a family from central America and you can make it to the United States, you will never be deported. You can be only held for 20 days and we release you within the country. Two percent of the unaccompanied minors who make it to America go back to their home country.”
“Our laws are broken and we need a barrier,” he continued. “The most stunning testimony was a man who has been dealing in sex trafficking—a law enforcement official—and he said that most children brought into America come across the open area of the border because the smugglers are afraid to go through the points of entry. Eighty-seven percent of the people apprehended coming here illegally from Central America never go through a point of entry. We need barriers and we need to change our laws.” (RELATED: Here’s Why What’s Happening On The Border Is Unprecedented, According To Top Officials)
“Trump wins,” Graham said, responding to Hannity’s assertion that the Senate would not have enough votes to override a presidential veto. “That’s the conclusion here. We’ll sustain his veto.”
The South Carolina senator ended the segment by documenting the cost of unaccompanied minors coming to the country.
“It costs us $375 a day to house these minors,” he said. “They go through hell to get here. And on average we’re spending $136,000 per kid from the Treasury. This is a crisis. $1.6 billion going to be spent.”
Graham promised to pursue changes to the law that only allows immigrants to be held for 20 days.
“If we don’t stop that, they will always keep coming,” he said, ending with a strong, “I stand with the president.”