By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Following last week’s announcement that Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R) from Ohio would not call a conference committee with the Senate to resolve differences between the House and the Senate, corporate lobbyists supporting increasing legal immigration have launched an ad campaign to put pressure on the Republican House to bring back immigration reform from the dead.
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama said that the group is simply interested in cheap labor and Congress should resist the pressure from these special interests.
Sen. Jeff Sessions said in a written statement,
“The tech giant lobbying group, FWD.us, has launched a nationwide ad campaign arguing for ‘immigration reform.’ What you won’t hear from these companies is that the ‘reform’ they have in mind is doubling the number of guest workers who are brought in each year just to fill jobs—despite high unemployment. A recent article in Computerworld quoted Tufts Professor Karen Panetta warning that ‘students will face increasing competition from lower-wage H-1B workers if the federal cap on visas rises.’ Rutgers Professor Sal Hazman warned that those under 30 will be especially hard hit. And Ron Hira, a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, was quoted in the same article as explaining that these visas are being ‘used very extensively for cheap labor.’ Congress should resist the pressure from these special interests and President Obama and intensify our effort to get unemployed American workers—high and low-skilled—into these jobs.”
Sen. Sessions has been the most vocal opponent of President Obama’s signature immigration reform package that was originally written by the ‘Gang of Eight’ groups of Senators that included Mark Rubio (R) from Florida, John McCain (R) from Arizona, Lindsey Graham (R) from South Carolina, and Chuck Schumer (D) from New York.
The immigration reform plan has been supported by corporations on both the right and the left who are anxious to grow their employment and customer bases. When America had full employment during the George W. Bush (R) administration, immigration advocates argued that immigrants did the work that Americans did not want to do; but since the Great Recession of 2008-2009 America has lost tens of millions of jobs.
Just this week, New York Times economist Paul Krugman wrote, “The case for ‘secular stagnation’ — a persistent state in which a depressed economy is the norm, with episodes of full employment few and far between — was made forcefully recently at the most ultrarespectable of venues, the I.M.F.’s big annual research conference.”
As more Americans have found their career opportunities lessen and more Americans are being crushed by low wage growth, immigration reform opponents have questioned why Congress would consider passing a bill that would unleash an additional one million immigrants a year into an economy that is showing little demand for labor.
Senator Sessions was the Alabama Attorney General before being elected in 1996 after Sen. Howell Heflin (D) retired.