Sen. Graham: Immigration reform 'dead' in health debate aftermath

Immigration reform legislation is "dead" in the Senate this year, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Thursday.

Graham, who's sought to work with some Democrats on the controversial issues, said that healthcare efforts had "poisoned the well" for bipartisan cooperation going forward.

"When I say immigration's dead in the Senate, risk-aversion abounds," Graham said during a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday. "Some of my colleagues will lose over healthcare. The consequences of this vote are going to be long-lasting politically."

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Graham had partnered with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to work on immigration legislation, and the pair had met with President Barack Obama earlier this month on the issue.

But Graham said that winning the support for any legislation was all but impossible in the wake of a divisive healthcare debate that's wrapped up this week in Congress.

"If you think you've created a problem for yourself on healthcare, why would you move onto immigration?" Graham asked, pointing to the number of centrist Democrats would be wary of signing on to support such an effort after already being bruised from the health debate.

Graham and Schumer had sought to craft a bill that would have created a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, an approach that had earned the GOP senator the enmity of some conservative activists.

The senator issued a challenge to Obama, too: write your own bill.

"To the president: If you want to deliver on your unwavering commitment to immigration reform, write a bill," he said. "You write the bill, send it to the House. See what happens, because I don't think you have much of a chance of getting it through the Senate."