Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina excoriated fellow Republicans Monday in portions of an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival that focused on immigration. Some of his rivals in the race for the GOP nomination have said “mean” things on that subject, he argued, casting immigration restrictionists as political liabilities who share the blame for his party’s loss in Election 2012.
“Mitt Romney is one of the most decent people I've ever met,” Graham said. “His biggest mistake was adopting self-deportation. We had too many debates. He got pushed too far to the right. How do you win the White House with 27 percent of the Hispanic vote?”
Senator Graham really hates the policy of self-deportation.
At one point, he mused about a young, undocumented woman coming to the United States in the late 1980s to clean toilets and service hotels. She arrived with one child and had two more over the years, he said––the latter two being U.S. citizens.
One is a Marine on his second tour in Afghanistan.
As Graham imagines it, the Marine comes home and says, “Where’s mom?” only to get the reply, "You haven't heard? She's walking back to Mexico." He adds, “Self-deportation means that you drive them out. Self-deportation means you break up families.”
“When I was 21 my mom died,” he said. “When I was 22 my dad died. Neither one of my parents finished high school. We owned a liquor store, a bar, and a pool room. That's why I'm well-qualified to be president. My family was destroyed by illness. I will not destroy families just for the hell of it. And that's what self-deportation is.”