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Graham to discuss immigration reform with religious groups in Columbia

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, will discuss immigration reform with members of the state's evangelical community at 11 a.m. in Columbia today, according to a news release.

The discussion at Graham's office comes after an announcement earlier this month that business leaders, Republicans and religious groups in favor of overhauling immigration laws have a new focus on raising support in South Carolina.

Graham is one of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" crafting an immigration reform bill they hope to introduce in the Senate next month.

Graham, who faces a potential GOP primary challenge from the right, already has been targeted by a group opposed to immigration reform, Numbers USA, which began running TV and radio ads against him last month accusing him of promoting "amnesty."

Now several groups on the other side of the issue are wading in with ads meant to bolster Graham, ensure workplace enforcement, smooth legal immigration and provide eventual citizenship to the 11 million illegal immigrants already here.

Those groups are Republicans for Immigration Reform, a fund-raising group founded by former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez; New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Partnership for a New American Economy, made up of mayors and business leaders; and the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of religious groups and leaders who support overhauling immigration laws.

From staff reports and the Associated Press

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