Regarding the immigration reform legislation pending before Congress, U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford would be well served to study and emulate the behavior of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham. The senior senator seeks a humane solution to a national problem, with an eye toward what is best for all Americans, not just those who share his party label or his ethnicity.
Graham's actions on immigration are a model for resolving the bitter divide that haunts our politics and prevents common-sense solutions to long-standing problems. When he and seven other Republican and Democratic senators joined forces to gain Senate approval of the immigration reform bill, they demonstrated instincts that make this country great -- compassion, justice, compromise and a spirit that welcomes the immigrant.
Now that Congress has overcome gridlock, reopened government, and extended the debt ceiling, its next task should be to pass comprehensive immigration reform. The 68 favorable votes in the Senate are a perfect example of creative, bipartisan problem-solving.
If Graham's leadership helps the GOP say "no" to the extreme elements in its party, perhaps Republicans could get some credit for its new, tolerant approach to immigration. Or should arch-conservatives in the party continue to alienate Hispanic Americans and those who favor immigration fairness?