The Slatest

Lindsey Graham: “I Don’t Care” if Migrants “Stay in These Facilities for 400 Days”

In this handout photo provided by the Office of Inspector General, overcrowding of families is observed by OIG at the U.S. Border Patrol McAllen Station Centralized Processing Center on June 11, 2019 in McAllen, Texas.
Handout/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham said he has no problem with keeping migrants in an overcrowded, foul-smelling facility at the border for more than a year. “I don’t care if they have to stay in these facilities for 400 days, we’re not going to let those men go that I saw,” Graham told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures.

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Graham, who toured the detention facilities in Texas alongside Vice President Mike Pence, made a point of characterizing the men in these facilities as something akin to hardened criminals. “What I saw is a bunch of people who have been here before, broke the law before, and we’re not going to let them go,” Graham said, adding that doing so “would be dangerous.”

Graham insisted that all of those who were being held in the detention centers “broke our law,” adding that “many of them have done it before.” As the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham should probably know that merely seeking asylum in the United States is not against the law.

The senator also pushed back against those who have called the detention centers concentration camps. “This is not a concentration camp that I saw,” he said. “It is a facility overwhelmed. I’m willing to buy beds for these people so they will have a better place to get a night sleep, but I’m not going to let them go.”

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With his words, Graham seemed to be siding with President Donald Trump, who appeared to reach a different conclusion from Pence regarding the state of the migrant detention centers. Whereas Pence said that the conditions at the detention centers were not acceptable and blamed Democrats, Trump dismissed any concerns of the sort in a series of tweets Sunday morning.

In addition to defending the detention centers, Graham also claimed that 30 percent of those who cross the border with children in tow are actually “fake families.’ The senator said that there are children who participate in the scam to cross the border with different adults. “Our laws are set up such so that if you can bring a small child to America coming from Central America, we can only hold the child for 20 days, then we let the entire family go because we don’t want to separate families,” Graham said. That means children are being “exploited” and made to do the trip from Central America several times. “They pick the child up in Central America, they bring them to the United States, everybody’s released, and the child goes back to Central America to do it again,” he claimed. “They’re taking this journey, God knows what happens to them along the way.”