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Lindsey Graham floats renewable legal status in exchange for border wall funding

December 30, 2018

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Sunday said a deal that combines $5 billion for President Trump’s border wall with an extension of legal status for “Dreamers” and people fleeing conflict or natural disasters back home could “save the day in the Senate” and reopen the government.

“We need to start talking again,” the Republican told CNN’s State of the Union. “To my Democratic friends: There will never be a deal without wall funding.”

He said in return, immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children should be eligible for legal status and authorization to work for three years under a bill he’s put forward with Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat.

Persons living in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status for instance, persons fleeing civil war or hurricane wreckage could also receive temporary, renewable status to stay in the country under the senator’s deal.

Mr. Graham said Democrats have supported border fencing in the past, so it should be an easy lift.

“The bottom line is everything I just outlined has been offered by each party before,” he said.

As it stands, Washington is struggling to end a partial government shutdown due to a stalemate over Mr. Trump’s request for border-wall funding.

Senate Democrats who wield filibuster power have refused to back a package with wall funding and say Mr. Trump moved the goalposts on federal spending at the last minute.

Republicans say Democrats are being stubborn and refuse to negotiate.

“They want Trump to lose more than they want the country to win, I fear,” Mr. Graham said. “At the end of the day, there’s a deal to be had. But everyone is changing their position here, and most Americans are pretty tired of it.”

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