Smith: Immigration Plan Hurts Americans

Statement

By:  Lamar Smith
Date: Jan. 23, 2008
Location: Washington, DC


Smith: Immigration Plan Hurts Americans

By Beth Frigola, (202) 225-6906

Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (TX-21) tonight issued the following statement after the President's State of the Union Speech:

"A massive new guest worker program hurts American workers.

"Studies show that competition from millions of illegal workers would depress wages and reduce the number of available jobs.

"Some say there are jobs Americans won't do. But that demeans workers who do work in every occupation. Even in the service and food industries, 80 percent of all employees are legal. Eight million Americans are unemployed or have given up looking for jobs.

"There is another cost to illegal immigration besides lower wages and lost jobs. Taxpayers must pay for their education, health care, and government benefits.

"Overcrowded classrooms, free emergency health care at hospitals, and subsidized government services have hit communities and taxpayers hard. We cannot deny care to illegal immigrants, but it is unfair for the rest of us to have to pick up the bill.

"No nation can protect its residents without knowing who is entering and why. Those who would do us harm respect no borders. For instance, four of the 19 terrorists who attacked us on 9-11 were in the country illegally. Border security equals national security.

"If a guest worker program were to provide a path to citizenship, we would be rewarding lawbreakers with the greatest honor our country can bestow - citizenship.

"Illegal immigration hurts American workers, costs taxpayers and threatens our national security. We should put the interests of citizens and legal immigrants first."