Graham: Trump should 'think long and hard' about immigration move
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Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE should consider the consequences of quickly rolling back a key Obama administration immigration program, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham warns Trump on Taliban deal in Afghanistan: Learn from 'Obama's mistakes' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan MORE (R-S.C.) warned Tuesday.

Asked if he would fight a repeal by the president-elect of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Graham told reporters: "I think that is in an issue he needs to think long and hard about."

"Here is a problem that we have: You've got about a million DREAM Act kids who came here as small children, lived here all there lives. Now they have legal status by executive order," Graham said during a wide-ranging sit-down with reporters.

The program — which has faced a lengthy legal battle — provides people living in the U.S. illegally who arrived as children work authorization and a temporary halt on deportation if they meet certain requirements.

Trump sparked backlash from Democrats, and some Republicans, during the campaign when he pledged to deport the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States.

He's appeared to soften that stance telling CBS News that his administration would focus first on deporting undocumented immigrants who have ties to crime.

"What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers," he said. "After the border is secured and after everything gets normalized, we’re going to make a determination on the people that you’re talking about who are terrific people."

Trump told reporters last week after a meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAre Democrats turning Trump-like? House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' Churches are arming and training congregants in response to mass shootings: report MORE (R-Ky.) that immigration, namely border security, was one of his top three priorities next year.

Graham acknowledged that he doesn't know where a Trump administration will come down on immigration, but said he believes the real estate mogul is "evolving."

The senator was part of the "Gang of Eight," a group of lawmakers who spearheaded a wide-ranging immigration reform bill that created a pathway to citizenship and passed the Senate in 2013.

"I will not vote for a bill that doesn't, that quite frankly, treats a grandmother and drug dealer the same," the South Carolina Republican told reporters. "I will vote for border security."

Graham was among the Republicans Trump defeated during the Republican presidential primaries.