Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., cautioned the Republican Party about its 2016 presidential election odds if the issue of immigration is not addressed.

Graham said the GOP's odds of winning the White House could be "almost non-existent" if immigration reform is not advanced in Congress. He added that inaction on the issue will make the Republican Party's presidential efforts "difficult, if not impossible."

"If we don't at least make a down payment on solving the problem and rationally dealing with the 11 million [undocumented immigrations currently in the U.S.], if we become the party of self-deportation in 2015 and 2016, then the chance of winning the White House I think is almost non-existent," said Graham, during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union."

Graham acknowledged his opposition to President Barack Obama issuing an executive action on immigration last month that would defer nearly five million undocumented immigration from deportation. Despite his opposition, he said the Republican Party has to "do more than just fight the executive order."

"If the Republican Party cannot muster the political courage to deal with the DREAM Act children in a fair and balanced way after we secure our border, that says a lot about the Republican Party's future regarding the Hispanic community," Graham said. "I don't believe most Americans would fault the Republican Party if we allowed children who have been here since they're babies to assimilate into society with a pathway to citizenship after we secure our borders."

Graham was among the 13 Senate Republicans who supported the comprehensive immigration reform legislation in 2013, titled "S.744 - Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act." Republican senators Marco Rubio of Florida and John McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona also sponsored the bill. The bill passed the Senate, but has yet to be picked up by the House of Representatives for a debate and vote. The Senate immigration bill earned the support of Obama, although he admitted the legislation didn't fully meet his expectations.

During the interview, Graham commented on new polling figures showing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush winning a hypothetical 2016 presidential election poll.

"Here's what I do believe, that Jeb Bush would be an excellent candidate. I think that he can win in 2016. I believe he can carry Florida. He's got rational and logical views on immigration. He was a very good governor."

Graham noted the primary season, however, is wide open and name recognition is important. Graham has not ruled himself out from running for president in 2016.

"I think over the last several years I've been more right than wrong when it comes to foreign policy, that the next President of the United States has got a world on fire," Graham said about his qualifications. "I think I have a unique capability to do things like that but at the end of the day running for president is a monumental task. Whether or not there's a pathway forward for me I don't know, I'll look at it in 2015."

As Latin Post reported, polling data by Bloomberg Politics saw Bush receive better numbers than other potential Republican presidential candidates if running against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Against Bush, Clinton received 43 percent of the vote, compared to 37 percent for the former Florida governor. Seventeen percent of respondents claimed they will vote for another candidate or would not vote. Graham's name was not included in the survey.


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