POLITICS

Sen. Graham calls GOP rival Trump's immigration plan 'stupid' and 'illegal'

In this combination made from file photos, Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, speaks in Central, S.C., and fellow Republican candidate, real estate mogul Donald Trump, speaks in Las Vegas. In response to Trump's recent derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants, Graham says his rival is a "wrecking ball" for the future of the GOP with Hispanic voters, and is calling on the party to push back. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt, John Locher, File)

In this combination made from file photos, Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, speaks in Central, S.C., and fellow Republican candidate, real estate mogul Donald Trump, speaks in Las Vegas. In response to Trump's recent derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants, Graham says his rival is a "wrecking ball" for the future of the GOP with Hispanic voters, and is calling on the party to push back. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt, John Locher, File)

Sen. Lindsey Graham co-opted some Trumpspeak Tuesday morning when he declared the real estate mogul’s throw-them-all-out plan for addressing illegal immigration “stupid.”

Graham said in an interview on “Fox & Friends” that Trump’s idea for solving illegal immigration – by deporting all the estimated 11 million undocumented people, building a wall along the nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, and not allowing U.S.-born people who are here illegally to continue to get automatic U.S. citizenship – was not feasible and would not survive court challenges.

“Well, Donald Trump’s plan on immigration is stupid,” said Graham, a South Carolina Republican who, along with Trump, is among more than 20 GOP presidential contenders.

Immigration has become a focus of the presidential election earlier than usual. Trump thrust it into the campaign spotlight in his presidential run announcement in June, when he assailed Mexico for, as he put it, dumping its worst on the United States, and called for building a wall that Mexico would finance.

Since then, he has doubled down, vowing to deport all undocumented immigrants and letting the “good ones” return in a legal fashion he has not yet detailed. 

Trump said he would put an end to birthright citizenship, which many experts say is impossible because it is protected in the 14th Amendment. On Monday night, Trump said on the “O’Reilly Factor” that he had no problem moving to detain and deport undocumented immigrants who have children born in the United States.

Graham has embraced a more moderate approach to immigration, saying that it’s impractical to plan for a mass roundup and deportation of undocumented immigrants.

Graham was part of the so-called “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan Senate group that drafted a comprehensive immigration reform bill the upper chamber passed in 2013 that called for tightening border security and providing a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants who meet a strict set of criteria.

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who also is running for president, was part of the “Gang of Eight” as well.

Graham said on “Fox & Friends” that if there’s an attempt to deport U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants, as Trump suggested to Fox host Bill O’Reilly that he was prepared to do, “you’ll get creamed in court.”

“I find him offensive,” Graham said. “His solution is just constitutionally flawed. It’s not practical.”

Last week Graham said he worries that Trump’s ideas will alienate many Americans and spell trouble for the GOP.

"I don't think there's 10 votes in the United States Senate for this plan," Graham told reporters last week in Iowa. "I promise you no Democrat's going to vote for this, I certainly wouldn't vote for it. You're not going to get 11 million people out of this country. That's just not practical, that's going to kill the Republican Party. It's self-deportation on steroids."

Trump and Graham have lobbied insults at one another numerous times this year.

At a campaign event in South Carolina Trump gave out Graham’s personal cell number.

Following that, Graham publicly destroyed his cell phone.

The senator did not have very kind words for Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who said Trump brings a “net positive” for the GOP.

“I think that’s dumb, too,” he said on “Fox & Friends.”

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