Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Wednesday said he will offer legislation to extend a key Obama administration immigration program.
“I’m going to introduce legislation with my Democratic colleagues and my Republican colleagues that would continue the legal status of the DACA kids,” Graham told reporters.
Pressed on details of his legislation, which he’ll roll out next year, Graham said: “It’s going to be basically if you have legal status today, you’ll continue to have legal status.”
President-elect Donald Trump pledged during the campaign to nix President Obama’s executive orders, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The program — which has faced a lengthy legal battle — provides people living in the U.S. illegally who arrived as children with work authorization and a temporary halt on deportation if they meet certain requirements.
While Graham said there’s a “good argument” that Obama’s move was illegal, he believes a temporary DACA extension would pass “overwhelmingly.”
“If he repeals it then we ought to immediately pass legislation to extend their legal status. I’m willing to do that,” he said. “I’m going to support legislation that will continue legal status for these kids until we can find a fix to the overall program.”
Trump sparked backlash from Democrats, and some Republicans, during the campaign when he pledged to deport the roughly 11 million immigrants currently living illegally in the U.S.
He’s seemingly softened that stance, telling CBS News that his administration would focus first on deporting undocumented immigrants who have ties to crime.
Graham was one of eight senators known as the “Gang of Eight” who spearheaded a wide-ranging immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who also worked on the bill, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he wouldn’t support “retroactively” removing DACA status but would recommend Trump not allow DACA permit renewals.