Sen. Graham: Democrats Want to Reduce Bed Space for Violent Offenders at the Border
Senators Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Sunday that U.S. budget talks have broken down over the number of beds at immigration detention centers. Shelby said that Democrats want to put a cap on the ICE detainment of criminals. According to Graham, they actually want to reduce the number of beds for violent offenders detained at the border.
Congressional negotiators are trying to reach a compromise before Friday, the deadline for an agreement on funding to keep the government open.
"I think the talks are stalled right now," Sen. Shelby, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."
“I'm hoping we can get off the dime later today or in the morning because time is ticking away,” he said. “But we got some problems with the Democrats dealing with ICE that is detaining criminals that come into the U.S."
“And [Democrats] want a cap on them. We don't want a cap on that.... [W]e haven't reached a number on the [border] barrier yet, but we are working and we're hoping we can get there. But we've got to get fluid again. We got to start movement.”
Senator Jon Tester (D- Mont.) expressed optimism that a government shutdown would be avoided.
"We need to keep our eyes on this, but I'm very hopeful — not positive, but very hopeful we can come to an agreement," he said.
Sen. Graham went further than Shelby on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" with Maria Bartiromo, saying that Democrats not only want a cap on ICE detainments, they want to reduce the number of ICE detention beds.
"I don't see how in the world President Trump can sign a bill that reduces bed space for violent offenders to make sure they're deported from the country," he said.
Graham said that he doesn't want the government shut down, so a continuing resolution is probably where they will go if Democrats insist on reducing the number of bed spaces available for violent offenders.
"If the Democrats' goal is to reduce the number of bed spaces available for violent criminals, that would incentivize illegal immigration and undercut anything he did on the wall. I don't see how he signs that bill," he said.
"At the end of the day, the president has pledged not only to build a wall, but to stop the flow of violence coming across the border. Reducing bed space incentivizes more illegal immigration."
Graham blamed the unreasonable demand on what he called the "AOC wing" of the Democratic Party, referring to democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
"It's clear to me that the Democratic Party is now being run by the AOC wing," Graham said. "AOC's fingerprints are all over this," he added. "These people have gone insane."
President Trump weighed in on the stalled talks on Twitter, saying it's been "a very bad week for the Democrats":
When asked about Graham's comments regarding the Democratic push for reduced bed spaces, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said: "This is the first I've heard of that. I mean, I love Lindsey Graham, but he's breaking news this morning," Ryan said. "That doesn't sound like something I'd be supportive of or many Democrats would be supportive of."