By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
There is a growing political consensus that at least eleven million illegal aliens already living in the United States should receive legal status and a path toward full citizenship. U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama however remains an outspoken critic of that policy, the likely chain immigration affect that such a policy could produce, and the relaxing of current immigration limits. Unions including the AFL-CIO have steadfastly supported legalizing the 11 million illegals already here; but they are hesitant to support U.S. Chamber of Commerce demands that comprehensive immigration reform include guaranteeing American business an endless flow of low wage, low skill immigrant labor.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said recently, “Programs like the bracero program or temporary guest-worker programs where individuals were tied to an employer, they got exploited. They got cheated out of wages they weren’t given what was rightfully due to them. They were forced to work under unsafe conditions. They were forced to accept substandard wages. They couldn’t say anything, because if they did, [the employer] would jerk their permit and deport them.”
Sen. Sessions issued a statement after labor leaders warned of a possible impasse between business and labor groups on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform. Sen. Sessions said, “The Trumka statement reflects an increasing appreciation of reality by union and non-union workers both. A large increase in the supply of foreign labor will reduce the value of the individual American worker, threaten his job, and reduce his salary. There is no escaping that fact. This is especially serious at a time of unemployment and labor surplus.”
Sen. Sessions continued, “As this truth emerges, some of the reform visions put forward cease to be realistic and are not in the interests of American workers. Let’s be honest, we cannot introduce an endless supply of foreign labor—subsidized by government food, housing, and health care—that does.”
Critics of comprehensive immigration reform warn that the U.S. already has more low skilled workers than it needs and over the last thirty years the bottom 50% of the population have not seen their income keep up with inflation…..contributing to a growing income disparity between the classes. They blame the steady flow of immigrants: both legal and illegal and question the wisdom of increasing immigrant levels further. Since 2007 the labor force participation rate has plummeted as millions of Americans (citizens and immigrant alike) have seen their jobs disappear.
Senator Jeff Sessions is a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.