South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says he refuses to support President-elect Donald Trump's wish to deport the nonviolent people protected by President Barack Obama's DREAM Act.
“I will not vote for a bill that doesn’t, that quite frankly, treats a grandmother and drug dealer the same,” he said of any immigration bill Trump may propose that would do so, The Hill reports.
Graham continued, urging Trump to carefully consider the consequences of repealing the DREAM Act -- also known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- on the lives of the young in particular.
"I think that is in an issue he needs to think long and hard about," he said. “Here is a problem that we have: You’ve got about a million DREAM Act kids who came here as small children, lived here all their lives ... Now they have legal status by executive order."
If the act were repealed, these children may lose work authorization and face deportation.
Graham also said such a move would be politically unwise for Trump.
"I will vote for border security, but here's my view: Democrats are not going to give Republicans all the things we want on border security [and] illegal immigration increases unless they know what is going to happen to the 11 million [people in the country illegally]," he said, according to a Talking Points Memo.
"He has a unique opportunity here," added Graham. "There are deals to be made. Big, huge deals. But there will be no huge deals in this body that doesn't have Democrat and Republican support."
Trump sparked controversy after declaring he would deport roughly 11 million immigrants in the country illegally. Later, he backtracked on his statements, stating he will first seek to remove those immigrants linked to crime.
"What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers," he said. "After the border is secured and after everything gets normalized, we’re going to make a determination on the people that you’re talking about, who are terrific people."
Graham acknowledges Trump's change in mindset and admits he doesn't know exactly now where Trump stand on the immigration issue, adding he believes he may be "evolving."