Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has been leading the charge for amnesty since the beginning of the year. He is a member of the Senate's Gang of 8, which laid out their amnesty proposal- calling it a "pathway to citizenship"- in January.
Since all of this immigration reform talk started, Lindsey Graham has not held a town hall in South Carolina to get his constituents' views on the issue. He has not done a survey through his Congressional website on immigration either.
The reason for this is obvious: Senator Graham already knows where his constituents stand on amnesty. They don't want it. And he doesn't care.
The Senate's Gang of 8, which also includes Senators John McCain and Marco Rubio, has not actually introduced a bill yet. They set a self-imposed deadline of March 21st to get a bill written and introduced.
March 21st falls on a Thursday. For the two full weeks after that date, Congress will be on recess. This means two full weeks of town hall meetings, Congress on your Corners, and constituent meetings.
This is great! The bill will finally be revealed to the public, and the American people have two weeks to learn what's in the bill and tell their lawmakers how they feel. What a great opportunity for democracy!
Unfortunately, Senator Graham and the rest of Gang of 8 disagree with me. On Tuesday, they changed the plan. The Associated Press reported that the group will not meet their deadline, and instead the American people should expect a bill after the recess in April.
Senator Graham is being very honest on why they did this. From the AP story:
The legislation is certain to be controversial and may spark passionate opposition from lawmakers' constituents at town halls and elsewhere. Such opposition helped sink the last congressional attempt at overhauling immigration laws, in 2007. So even if it were finished in time, Graham said it wasn't a good idea to release the bill before a two-week recess. "You don't want to leave it hanging out for two weeks to get shot up," he said.
Sen. Graham knows what is going to be in the bill, and he knows the American people aren't going to like it. He certainly knows that his constituents in South Carolina aren't going to like it. So, he is going to do all he can to avoid answering to the public.
Everyone saw what happened to John McCain when he held a town hall two weeks ago in Arizona. His constituents were furious that he is pushing for amnesty, and they didn't even know the extent of the amnesty yet.
Shockingly, Sen. Graham has no town halls scheduled. I tried to call today to double check, giving him the benefit of the doubt, but I couldn't get through to his offices. All of my calls went straight to a voice machine.
Senator Graham doesn't want to face voters back in his state. A state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. A state where nearly 15.8% of its residents are unemployed or underemployed.
He realizes that there is a huge void between his top priority- giving work permits and amnesty to 11 million illegal aliens- and the top priority of people in South Carolina - getting South Carolinians back to work.
Dennis Michael Lynch is a film maker who made the documentary They Come to America about illegal immigration. He went down to South Carolina and talked to the people Sen. Graham is ignoring. Here is a clip from the sequel, They Come to America II
Call Sen. Graham and ask him to hold a town hall and remind him who he works for - the people of South Carolina. Not big business, and not the open borders lobby.
We encourage all of you to call your Senators and Congress Members and send in your request for them to hold a town hall.
MELANIE OUBRE is the Local Activism Coordinator for NumbersUSA