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Graham calls Tom Cotton ‘the Steve King of the Senate'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBrunson release spotlights the rot in Turkish politics and judiciary Saudi Arabia, Turkey to form joint investigation into Khashoggi disappearance Democrats must end mob rule MORE (R-S.C.) said Friday that Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonFlake: Congress should not continue Kavanaugh investigations GOP senator suspects Schumer of being behind release of Ford letter Susan Collins becomes top 2020 target for Dems MORE (R-Ark.) has become "sort of the Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingSteve King: Julian and Joaquin Castro learned Spanish to ‘qualify as retroactive Hispanics’ House conservatives want ethics probe into Dems' handling of Kavanaugh allegations GOP lawmaker's campaign shares meme comparing Ford to Hillary Clinton MORE of the Senate," a reference to one of the House's most ardent immigration hard-liners.

In an interview with MSNBC, Graham, who has advocated for legislative protections for young immigrants, rejected the notion of ending family-based immigration in exchange for enshrining the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program into law.

A proposal by Cotton and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) seeks to end so-called chain migration, which allows U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor family members abroad to come to the U.S.

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"All I can say is we're not going to end family immigration for DACA," Graham said. "The Tom Cotton approach has no viability here. You know, he's become sort of the Steve King of the Senate."

"I like Tom, but on immigration, he's putting something on the table that there's just no market for in Phase 1," he added.

King, an Iowa Republican, has been a vocal advocate for curbing immigration and ending DACA, an Obama-era program rescinded by Trump last fall. 

Graham's comments came as lawmakers barrel toward a government shutdown amid a struggle to reach an agreement on a spending measure to keep the government running past Friday.

Democrats have insisted that any spending measure must include protections for DACA recipients, while some Republicans have called to address legal protections for the young immigrants, known as Dreamers, at a later date.