U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement today after the union representing professional and technical engineers announced their opposition to the Gang of Eight immigration bill:
"Congress should listen to the warning from the engineers' union about the Gang of Eight immigration bill. The union notes that "it is not appropriate or fair for politicians to trade the jobs of American workers--in this case STEM workers--in exchange for a path to citizenship'--which is essentially the deal that has been struck not only for tech companies, but for the entire business lobby. In exchange for a path to citizenship demanded by interest groups on the left, the bill irresponsibly surges the number of nonimmigrant low-skill and high-skill guest workers and permanent future immigration, including non-merit based chain migration, at a time when a record number of Americans have exited the labor force.
The engineers' union explains that under the current proposal "[h]undreds of thousands of foreign STEM workers--engineers, scientists, and others--will enter the United States each year for the sole purpose of working in jobs that Americans would normally do. These are jobs that are currently being performed by highly educated and skilled workers, and jobs on the horizon that millions of American STEM students attending our colleges and universities plan to fill.' The union says that the legislation "sold these workers and students down the river, in favor of catering to the high-tech industry's interest in gaining unfettered access to cheap labor from all across the globe.'
For the most part, those in the H-1B program do not become business owners and job creators and do not become immigrants. Rather, they are temporary workers who take jobs at lower pay until they are sent home. This sharp rise in temporary foreign labor is favored by the tech lobby because, as the union notes, the "H-1B worker is bound to a single company for years without any ability to move from one employer to another.'
There is no doubt that this legislation will hurt struggling U.S. workers--immigrant and native born, union and non-union, poor and middle class--a fact about which too many politicians and labor leaders have been much too silent. Whether the interests of the American people are answered in the coming days--or ignored--will be an important test of our Democracy."