Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), in his latest attack against President Biden’s immigration policies, has claimed that some 40,000 Brazilians are crossing the border and heading for Connecticut. He says these are not destitute individuals desperate for work, but wealthier people with “designer clothes and Gucci bags.”
Graham was speaking Tuesday night to Sean Hannity on Fox News. He was complaining about the Biden administration’s latest policy of cutting back on the workplace arrest of migrants.
“Now, what [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas did today, calling off all the raids of worksite, is going to be another incentive for people to come, because the word is out,” Graham said. “You come, you claim asylum, you never leave. The policy choices of Biden are all over the world now.”
Graham recently visited the border in Arizona.
“We had 40,000 Brazilians come through the Yuma Sector alone headed for Connecticut wearing designer clothes and Gucci bags. This is not economic migration anymore,” he added.
“People see an open America. They’re taking advantage of us. And it won’t be long before a terrorist gets in this crowd.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) bizarrely claims 40,000 Brazilians heading for Connecticut “wearing designer clothes and Gucci bags” illegally crossed the border: “This is not economic migration anymore.” pic.twitter.com/SYg0cWWJHc
— The Recount (@therecount) October 13, 2021
In a call to the Washington Post yesterday, Graham defended his comments.
“Usually when you go to the border, you see people who are dressed really haggardly and who look like they’ve been through hell,” he said. “This time at Yuma, there were dozens that looked like they were checking into a hotel — and smartly dressed.”
Graham said a Border Patrol agent had told him that Connecticut was a growing destination for Brazilian communities, along with two other states that he, “could not remember.”
A spokesperson for Graham, Kevin Bishop, provided photos to the Post of luggage and shoes taken at the border.
“They have had thousands of Brazilians coming through there,” he said. “As Senator Graham noted in Yuma, the luggage was nicer than his own.”
The Washington Post said none of the photos provided showed Gucci bags or luggage, noting “The most obvious clothing in the photos was a pair of fairly clean Puma tennis shoes without shoelaces.”
It’s unclear where Graham gets his numbers for the Connecticut claim, although there has been a big rise in the number of Brazilians crossing the southern border in recent years.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, during the first 11 months of the 2021 fiscal year, 46,280 Brazilians were apprehended at the southern U.S. border. That compared with 17,893 in the whole of 2019.
Graham’s latest comments prompted plenty of comments online.
How is he able to know a Gucci bag from a cheap knock off? Also, if true does this not completely ruin the reps argument of ‘They’ll be a drain on the economy” if they are the rich?
— Timothy Collins (@wookietim) October 13, 2021
Lindsey Graham sounds jealous!
— Former🚫Republican (@MichaelCoder5) October 13, 2021
If they’re coming from Brazil wearing designer clothes and carrying Gucci bags wouldn’t it be a lot easier for them to fly to JFK or EWR?
— Teapot Dome was Amateur Hour! (@HarrenGWarding) October 13, 2021
Are they walking to Connecticut right now?
Can someone in the circled area please look out their window for 60,000 people flanked in Gucci & report back to this post? pic.twitter.com/4gGRrQmeYz
— Hazy Splendid 🌊🐶🍔🌮🌭🌯 (@HazySplendid) October 13, 2021
Connecticut, long known for it’s tropical beaches, food, music, dance and culture is a natural fit for Brazilians seeking a better quality of life
— FunkieNYFL (@funkieinfl) October 13, 2021
So we don’t want poor people from Mexico coming but we also don’t want rich people from South America coming? @LindseyGrahamSC just say that you don’t want any person of color coming into the US.
— Nola (@NolaLegalmvp) October 13, 2021
Ted Cruz the new entertainment commentator on Fox News. Now Lindsey Graham the new fashion commentator on Fox News. So exciting to see the U.S Senate expand their horizons.
— ALongo (@TheAndyLongo1) October 13, 2021