Rehberg Urges Crackdown on Illegal Immigration
Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, this week is urging President Bush and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to crack down on the employment of illegal immigrants and to oppose legislation supporting amnesty.
"Employers are not being held accountable for the hiring of illegal aliens and we haven't done enough to deal with the illegals that are already in our country," said Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. "Meanwhile, we continue to allow people, whose first act is to come into America illegally, to take advantage of our tax-payer funded social services intended for American citizens. I'm urging both the President and Speaker Pelosi to act now on this issue."
In a letter to President Bush, Rehberg is urging the Administration to enforce the laws already on the books to ensure employers don't hire illegal immigrants. In the letter, Rehberg cites a study by the Center for Immigration Studies that found the current level of immigration has reduced the wages of the average native-born worker in a "blue-collar" occupation by 12% a year, or almost $2,000.
Rehberg also sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi asking her to not bring amnesty legislation to the House floor. Rehberg argued that amnesty legislation undermines the important debate on immigration policy and is unfair to those who play by the rules and have patiently waited for their turn to become legal citizens.
"It's time to get tough on illegal immigration and it's time to do it now," said Rehberg.
Both letters currently have 61 cosigners.
Below are the letters:
The Honorable George Bush
United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Bush,
As Members of the House of Representatives, we appeal to you on behalf of American workers. We urge you to continue recent efforts to vigorously enforce the laws that ensure that employers do not hire illegal immigrants.
Employers who hire illegal immigrants create unfair competition in the labor market and depress wages for all workers. The Center for Immigration Studies has found that the current level of immigration has reduced the wages of the average native-born worker in a low-skilled occupation by 12% a year, or almost $2,000. Alexander Aleinikoff, a former Clinton Administration INS official and now the Dean of Georgetown Law School, calls it a "myth" that "there is little or no competition between undocumented workers and American workers . . . ." The sixteen million Americans without a high school degree who have seen their wages stagnate or decline or who have lost their jobs would surely agree.
You can help protect these vulnerable Americans by enforcing our immigration laws. Existing law already prohibits businesses from employing illegal immigrants. Unfortunately, for years we saw enforcement decline steadily under both Democratic and Republican Administrations.
We are encouraged by your Administration's recent enforcement efforts. Your Administration should take more such bold steps.
We were heartened to read in the Wall Street Journal that an enforcement action at a plant was an "unexpected opportunity" for local American workers and that "[f]or the first time in years [the company] aggressively sought workers from the area's state-funded employment office . . . ." Please give American workers the opportunities they deserve.
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
U.S. House of Representatives
Office of the Speaker
H-232, US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Pelosi:
We are Democratic and Republican Members who are united in asking you not to bring amnesty legislation to the House floor.
Citizenship is the greatest honor and responsibility our country can offer. Millions of people around the world play by the rules, obey the law, and often wait years for the opportunity to legally immigrate.
When Congress granted permanent residence to millions of illegal immigrants in 1986, we required them to wait, pay a fine, and "learn" English. The result was legally and publicly recognized as amnesty.
Amnesty hurts vulnerable American workers, burdens American taxpayers, and rewards lawbreakers. It encourages more illegal immigration. And it tells all those who have patiently waited abroad for their turn to come to the United States that they are foolish.
The United States has the most generous legal immigration system in the world. We should take the side of American workers and taxpayers, legal immigrants and the rule of law. Please oppose any effort to put illegal immigrants on the path to amnesty.