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Graham On Immigration: GOP Going To Lose Again If We Don't "Get Our Heads In A Better Spot"

"And my party is in a bad spot over this issue, and if we don't wake up and get our heads in a better spot, we're going to lose yet again."

Posted on May 20, 2015, at 12:11 p.m. ET

Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is expected to launch a presidential campaign soon, says his party will keep losing elections if they don't "wake up" to the reality of passing comprehensive immigration legislation.

"I am ready to deal with this problem. If I get to be president, we're going to solve it," Graham told Concord News Radio earlier in the week. "And my party is in a bad spot over this issue, and if we don't wake up and get our heads in a better spot, we're going to lose yet again."

Earlier in the interview, Graham said immigration has to be fixed in a "bi-partisan fashion."

"Well, let me tell you about immigration," said Graham "It's a problem that has to be fixed in a bipartisan fashion."

"At the end of the day, I've been working on immigration since 2006. George W. Bush understood this issue pretty darn well, coming from Texas. You've gotta secure your border, 'cause if you don't, they'll keep coming. You've gotta increase legal immigration, so people won't be enticed to cheat. You've gotta have e-verify, so we know when people do cheat."

"But as to the 11 million: Criminals not welcome. Non-criminals, people who just violated the immigration laws, can stay here on our terms, not theirs. They have to learn our language, pay taxes, get in the back of the line, and not become a citizen ahead of the people who have been doing it right — a 10-year ban before you can even apply for a green card."

"I've been doing this for 10 years, almost — there's no other way that I see to do it. You've gotta have Democratic support. They're not going to give the Republican Party all we want on border security, then wonder what happens to the 11 million — would you? If you were a Democrat, would you give us everything we want on border security and legal immigration increases, without us telling you what's going to happen to the 11 million? That is just all talk."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.