Senator Graham Now Says He Will Work for Immigration Reform… to Latino Audience

Sen. Graham said on Univision he would still work on immigration reform.

Sen. Graham said on Univision he would still work on immigration reform.

It’s not new for this blog to report on a candidate or elected official saying something to an immigrant or minority audience that he or she dare not say on mainstream media outlets.

On Sunday, as thousands of activists for immigration reform prepared to march on Washington D.C., Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.) provided yet another example, when he seemed to backtrack on his earlier statement that immigration reform would be dead if Democrats approved the health care overhaul through the reconciliation method.

Graham was interviewed by Univision anchor Jorge Ramos on his Sunday politics show Al Punto, days after having laid out the blueprint for immigration reform he and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) have been working on.

Ramos asked Graham whether he would still work toward immigration reform if Democrats passed the health care overhaul during the weekend. (The interview was done in English, but it’s only available dubbed in Spanish.)

Graham’s reply?

“I think so.”

Just a few days ago, the senator had warned that “immigration reform could come to a halt for the year” if Obama pushed health care through Congress using unusual legislative procedures.

Watch the interview here, with the relevant segment at 1:20:

Since the 2008 campaign, Feet in 2 Worlds has shown many instances of politicians expressing sanguine views on immigration reform on Spanish-language or other immigrant-oriented media or events, views they do not usually articulate when speaking to the mainstream American public.

This has happened with then-presidential candidate Sen. John McCain promising immigration reform at an Irish-American event in Scranton, Pa., or skirting the issue of his vote on the border fence on Univision. His vicepresidential candidate Sarah Palin also referred to immigration for the first time in the campaign when she sat down with Ramos, the anchor.

Barack Obama has made his most forceful statements on immigration reform, both as a candidate and as president, on Spanish-language media. Days before the November 2008 vote, he called on Latinos to vote in record numbers and promised to deal with the issue on his first year in office in an exclusive interview with the ImpreMedia newspaper chain. Then, soon after taking office, he appeared on a popular morning radio show in Los Angeles to say he was “very committed” to the overhaul and would start working on it promptly.

Yet, his timid statements when facing a national audience have irked many Hispanics, as when he devoted all of two sentences of the State of the Union address to the issue.

* via Immigration Impact / Greg Siskind

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AboutDiego Graglia
Diego Graglia is a bilingual multimedia journalist who has worked at major media outlets in the U.S. and Latin America. He is currently the editor-in-chief at Expansion, Meixco’s leading business magazine.