Sen. Lindsey Graham is ready to engage with Republican primary voters on his support for an immigration overhaul, a contentious topic with conservatives, as he weighs a presidential bid.
While visiting the early voting state of New Hampshire on Monday, the South Carolina senator said Republicans need to work with Democrats to craft a plan that secures the border and creates a path to legal status for the 11 million people who are living in the U.S. illegally. He says asking those people to leave on their own is not realistic.
Graham says immigrants can help the country make up for shortages of skilled and unskilled labor and boost the economy.
Graham, who is serving his third term in the Senate, has become a leading voice among Republicans on foreign policy issues, alongside U.S. Sens. John McCain of Arizona and New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte.
Graham is considered a longshot but his close relationships with Ayotte and McCain - who has always done well in New Hampshire - could help boost his chances in the nation's first primary.
His home state of South Carolina holds the third contest in the presidential nominating process.