U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined with Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), and Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) in issuing the following statements today regarding the new Center for Immigration Studies report on the adverse impact that the Gang of Eight's guest worker provisions would have on American workers, in addition to the 30 million individuals who would receive legal status under the plan:
Sen. Sessions: "This report from CIS is a bombshell. To my surprise, and no doubt the surprise of many, the Gang of Eight immigration bill doubles the annual number of guest workers from today's levels--a much larger increase than any of us had imagined. It adds four times more guest workers than the rejected proposal from 2007. Yet today's employment situation is far worse than when Congress considered the 2007 proposal. This large increase in guest workers guarantees that Americans' wages will remain stagnant and that the unemployed will remain unemployed. This legislation surges the number of low-wage workers at the expense of the poor and middle class.
These guest workers do not enter as permanent immigrants but as workers brought to the country temporarily. Employers can often hire them at lower wages without fear the worker will change jobs or seek a promotion or ask for more pay. The guest worker program is separate from the bill's proposed tripling of the number of people given legal permanent residency over the next 10 years. These large increases will be a hammer blow to working Americans--both immigrant and native-born.
I have a simple question for my fellow Senators: how can we justify adding four times more guest workers than were proposed in 2007 at a time when so many more Americans are out of work?"
Sen. Vitter: "We must be able to both secure our borders and enforce current immigration laws before we even begin to talk about enacting any type of expanded guest worker program. How do we expect to improve our unemployment statistics, by adding millions of temporary workers to our labor force? We must make securing our borders and stopping the flow of illegal immigrants into our country our principal focus."
Rep. Brooks: "I want to thank the Center for Immigration Studies for conducting this important study that identifies the dangerous consequences of the Senate's "Gang of 8" amnesty bill. America is far and away the most generous nation in the world as regards to immigration, accepting from 600,000 to more than a million immigrants per year for citizenship. However, the Senate's amnesty bill would, by creating a large, artificial increase in illegal alien labor, suppress wages and further increase unemployment. As the Center for Immigration Studies' analysis shows, this amnesty bill would double the flow of annual guest workers into the U.S. Now is the worst possible time to cripple the American worker with polices that legitimize illegal aliens or bring in vast new numbers of lawful immigrants, both of which are consequences of this amnesty bill. We need a policy that takes into account our economy in order to limit any adverse effects on employment. I suspect that as more examination of the Senate's amnesty bill is undertaken, more and more serious flaws of this nature will be exposed."
Rep. Barletta: "Our immigration laws were created for two purposes: to protect our national security and to protect American jobs. The Senate Gang of Eight proposal does neither.
It seems that yet again the American people are being sold a bill of goods. In 1986 we were told that if we granted amnesty to 1.5 million illegal immigrants, the problem would be solved and we would secure the borders. In fact, the borders remained wide open and the number of illegal immigrants swelled to more than three million. Now, the Gang of Eight is trying to tell us that they will fix the situation again, but we now find out that the threat to American jobs is greater than they have predicted. Illegal immigration is a problem on many fronts. It is clearly a national security issue, as the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center proved -- never mind the problems with the system involved in the Boston Marathon attacks. It is also a threat to the livelihoods of legal immigrants and residents who obey our laws and would soon have to compete for scarce employment and resources. Finally, it is a fiscal liability that a recent study predicted would be a drain of $6.3 trillion on our taxpayers, even after tax receipts from legalized citizens were realized.
This plan does nothing to protect our national security, it does not help legal residents compete for jobs, and it is fiscally irresponsible. So exactly why would we do this?
This is a plan that needs to be defeated."
Compared to 2007, 4.6 million more Americans are out of work, 19.8 million more Americans are on food stamps, unemployment among teenagers is 54 percent higher (15.7 percent in 2007 vs. 24.1 percent in April 2013) and African-American teenage unemployment is 38 percent higher (29.4 percent in 2007 vs. 40.5 percent in April 2013). Meanwhile, labor force participation is at its lowest rate in more than three decades. Median household income is 8.9 percent lower than in 1999 and 8.1 percent lower than in 2007, according to the latest Census data.
A report from Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies titled "Over a Million Immigrants Land U.S. Jobs in 2008-2010" found that unskilled immigrants were taking jobs in the construction sector, a sector many young Americans seek to enter. A recent National Bureau of Economic Research report found that 40 percent of the decline in employment rates for low-skilled black men has been due to immigration in recent decades. Research by Harvard professors Borjas and Katz have found that immigration reduced the earnings of certain native born workers by up to 8 percent.