By Laura Meckler | The Wall Street Journal
GAFFNEY, S.C.—Sen. Lindsey Graham had just explained how his immigration overhaul plan would secure the border and crack down on employers who hire illegal residents.
But when he asked a luncheon of the Cherokee County Republican Party what should happen to the millions already in the U.S., one woman yelled back, “Send them home!”
It is the kind of response that Mr. Graham, an architect of a bipartisan plan that would provide a path to legal status for undocumented workers, has come to expect in his home state. It is also the kind of reception that neatly encapsulates the dilemma the Republican Party faces as it shapes its future: Make the GOP more welcoming to the nation’s swelling—and decisively Democratic—Hispanic population and risk the ire of a chunk of its most fervent supporters; don’t and watch Democrats keep winning elections on the strength of Latino votes.
“Can we just be honest with each other?” Mr. Graham responded to the woman. Most people here illegally have established roots, many with children and grandchildren who were born in America, he said. “How many of you would sit on the sidelines and watch your grandmother get up and go?”