Sen. Graham Introduces 'Border First' Immigration Reform Plan

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," July 25, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Someone who has been involved in security has said, as well, that the next threat could from someone who sneaks over the border.

With us right now, Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator.

Senator, I know I'm switching gears a little bit with you here, but what do you think of this heightened security alert? I know you have warned and talked about the possibility that if, God forbid, there were to be any act against this country, it might come from someone who slips through the border.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Yes, well, I think the whole debate has got a common theme to it. How can you secure airports? How can you secure your borders? And our efforts to secure the borders have been miserable failures because we have got 12 million people here illegally.

And I'm ready to do something about it, rather than just talk all the time. And we have got some — we have got an amendment on the floor of the Senate that will help improve border security dramatically.

CAVUTO: It is a dramatic move. In a nutshell, what are you trying to do?

GRAHAM: Put $3 billion where our mouth is that — put our money where our mouth is that, double the Border Patrol agents authorized in current law; create 45,000 bed spaces so you don't catch and release people; unmanned aerial vehicles, have four new ones; put 105 sensor towers in the desert so we can better track who's coming across our border; build a 700- mile fence, fully fund it; create a 300-mile vehicle barrier where you can drive up and down and monitor a border; technology, a wall; more people on the ground, more boots on the ground; and, finally, deal with the visa overstays.

The 19 hijackers all were here on visas. And, when their visa expired, they never left. We have a provision in this amendment that would require visa overstays to be turned over to local law enforcement, so we can track these people down and deport them.

CAVUTO: Yes, but, Senator, the initial fence funding was approved, and either not given or they just didn't build. And so what makes you think that, whatever initiative you're proposing here — $3 billion-plus — would be acted on or paid for, even if you got the vote?

GRAHAM: Well, that's up to the administration. I believe they will take this seriously. The 700-mile fence was authorized but not fully funded. The $3 billion would pay for the fence and then some. It would pay for the extra sensors we need in the desert to track people coming across the desert. It...

CAVUTO: So what happened, Senator?

I'm sorry we're tight on time with this breaking Seattle development.

What happened to you? You were one of the compromise guys in trying to find a middle ground, and now you're one of the get-super-super-tough guys. What happened?

GRAHAM: Well, the bill was super, super tough on border security. It was super, super tough on people who crossed the border illegally. It was practical when it came to the 12 million.

What I try to do is look at all the moving parts. They come here to get jobs.

CAVUTO: All right.

GRAHAM: Control employment.

Well, let's focus on what we can agree on, take part of what we did, and see if we can get a consensus. That's securing the border, tracking visas...


GRAHAM: ... and mandatory jail time if you come back illegally.

CAVUTO: Senator, thank you very much.

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