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Amnesty Proponent Sen. Lindsay Graham Earns Opposition

Supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants has earned South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham the opposition of NumbersUSA , a border security group that began a statewide radio ad campaign against Senator Graham on Tuesday, saying television ads would follow today.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamGraham, is a member of the Senate “gang of eight,” a bipartisan group pushing for a comprehensive immigration “reform” bill that includes a “path to citizenship” or amnesty for those who came to this country illegally.

According to NewsMax, although Graham is the first member of the “gang of eight” to be targeted, NumbersUSA says it plans to run negative ads about the other seven members of the group: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

NumbersUSA, which believes a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants would only draw more illegal immigrants to the U.S., plans to spend $150,000 on its anti-Graham ad campaign, says NewsMax.

The group is also against an increase in legal immigration, another issue set to be reformed under the “gang of eight” plan.

In their ad, NumbersUSA also goes after Graham for supporting reform of employment-based immigration.

“Who elected Senator Graham to insist on more green cards for foreign workers when returning veterans can't find jobs?” it asks.

This is not the first wave of criticism directed at the Republican senators in the “gang of eight.” While NumbersUSA may be the first organized opposition to the “gang of eight” immigration bill, it is hardly the only opposition.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., called Rubio “amazingly naïve” to back such a proposal, and McCain was confronted by angry town hall questioners last week when he returned to Arizona.

Republican Representative Lamar Smith (TX-21) said the immigration-reform principles floated by the “gang of eight” would reward lawbreakers, increase unemployment and push enormous new costs onto U.S. taxpayers.

"When you legalize those who are in the country illegally, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, costs American workers thousands of jobs and encourages more illegal immigration," Smith said in a brief statement. "By granting amnesty, the Senate proposal actually compounds the problem by encouraging more illegal immigration.”

We agree with Congressman Smith's analysis, but would amend it to say "costs taxpayers billions of dollars," because responsible estimates put the fiscal cost of illegal immigration in the range of $100 billion, with most of the burden falling on state and local governments, hospitals and social services.

Whatever claims that Graham and the “gang of eight” may make about their plan, the reality is the current immigration reform debate has wandered very far afield from harmonizing and updating our immigration policies, increasing border security or even liberal claims that we need a more “humanitarian” policy to allow blended families of legal and illegal immigrants to stay together – it is now all about raw politics, and as usual, establishment Republicans are getting it all wrong.

Establishment Republicans are hoping to repair their image with Hispanic voters ahead of the 2014 election by tossing aside the principles of the rule of law and the sacred trust U.S. citizenship bestows in favor of a crude form of public bribery that would trade citizenship for the ephemeral opportunity to obtain a few more Hispanic votes.

The folly of this will be clear when every Hispanic vote establishment Republicans pick-up is offset by the loss of two or three votes from conservatives who finally throw up their hands in frustration and either stay home or bolt for a political movement that actually has some principles and will stick to them.

Other than that, the “gang of eight” immigration plan is another great idea from the Republican establishment.