By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, May 14, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions spoke on the floor of the Senate in response to earlier speeches from Majority Leader Reid (D) from Nevada and Senator Chuck Schumer (D) from New York, demanding that House Republicans pass their immigration reform plan, which would legally admit 30 million mostly lesser-skilled permanent residents over the next decade (compared to ten million over ten years under current law). In the last forty years, the US only admitted 40 million immigrants, legally and illegally combined. Sessions said that a vote for the Reid/Schumer immigration plan is a vote against the American worker.
Senator Jeff Sessions said, “Today Majority Leader Reid and Senator Chuck Schumer came down to the Senate floor to demand that the House of Representatives pass their immigration bill. They labeled Republicans as ‘extremists’ for not giving in to their demands. Senator Schumer said that Republicans are ‘xenophobes’ because they don’t want to pass his plan.”
Sessions said, “Let’s talk about what is extreme. A new report reveals that this Administration has released 36,000 criminal aliens from ICE detention—including this report found: 193 homicide convictions, 1,153 sexual offenders, 303 kidnapping convictions and 1,075 aggravated assault convictions. These dangerous offenders should be placed back into custody. You know what else is extreme? Extreme is trying to pass an immigration bill that would double the flow of new guest workers into our country—and triple the grants of permanent admissions—when 50 million working-age Americans are out of work. It is not xenophobic but compassionate to say we should focus our attention on helping struggling American workers. It is not xenophobic but out patriotic duty to defend the integrity of our borders and the rule of law. It is the oath we all took as Senators to defend the constitution of the United States.”
Sen. Sessions said that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report showed that the immigration reform plan would actually would increase unemployment and would lead to reducing wages for the next 12 years while reducing Americans’ per-person wealth for the next 17 years.
Sen. Sessions said, “On a conference call yesterday worrying about the American steel industry, we talked about how a large amount of steel was being dumped into America. Why? What is the impact of that? What is the concern? More steel equals lower prices for steel. If you bring in more cotton, the lower the price is for cotton. If you bring in more labor, you’ll have lower wages for American workers. That’s what the CBO tells us. There is no disputing that, yet we have Senators who repeatedly speak on the floor and say this is going to increase wages. Give me a break. You can’t just say something and think that’s going to make it a reality. It’s the opposite of reality.”
Sessions said that presently we admit more than six hundred thousand guest workers each year and 1 million permanent immigrants. The Senate bill would double the number of legal guest workers to 1.2 million and would give permanent residency to 3 million immigrants per year.
Sem Sessions said that Harvard professor Dr. George Borjas has calculated that American workers lose more than $400 billion in wages each year due to competition from lower-cost workers from abroad. Dr. George Borjas’ calculated that between 1980 and 2000 wages declined 7.4 percent for lower-skilled American workers due to high immigration levels.
Sen. Sessions said, “The people hurt worst by the Democrats’ immigration policies are young Americans, low-income Americans, and minority workers.” “This includes Hispanics who come here lawfully or have been legalized in America and are trying to get started on the way up and would like to have a pay raise, but their wages are being pulled down by an extraordinary, unjustified flow of labor that we can’t absorb. We don’t have enough jobs. That’s the problem.”
Sen. Sessions said, “Mr. Schumer says we should do the bidding of the Chamber of Commerce. Well, talking about hijacking, it seems Mr. Schumer’s party has been hijacked by special interests.”
Sen. Sessions said, “Some lawmakers who support the Senate plan claim that tech industries couldn’t find qualified Americans—even though we have twice as many American STEM graduates each year as jobs to fill.” Sessions cited a recent paper by Professor Hal Salzman at Rutgers University carefully analyzed data from the Department of Education and the Department of Labor. Session said that Salzman found there was not, “A supply crisis in which the United States does not produce enough STEM graduates to meet industry demand. In fact, the nation graduates more than two times as many STEM student each year as find jobs in STEM field. For the 180,000 or so annual opening, U.S. Colleges and Universities supply 500,000 graduates.’ They supply more than twice the number of graduates as we have jobs for now. I’m a little dubious about some of these big business triples claiming they can’t get enough people. We hear people in Silicon Valley promoting any kind of immigration as long as they get more workers. Mr. Salzman says this, ‘The only clear impact of the large IT guest worker inflows over this decade can be seen in salary levels which have remained at their late 1990 levels and which dampens incentives for domestic students to pursue STEM degrees.’”
Sen. Sessions said, “From 2000 to 2013, the number of working-age Americans increased by 16 million. Yet the number of people—American workers—actually fell 1.3 million. That’s why the unemployment rate and the dropout rate is so high. During the same period, 2000-2013, the number of working-age immigrants increased by 8.8 million while 5.3 million immigrants gained employment. So, really, all the jobs created during this period of time have been in effect, mathematically speaking, taken by foreign workers.” “There are 50 million working-age Americans who aren’t working. Wages today are lower than they were in 1999. Median household incomes have dropped nearly $2,300 dollars since 2009.”
President Obama made immigration reform (along with gun control) legislative priorities for his second term. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) from California carried the gun control bill which did not make it out of the Senate. The Democrats’ immigration plan passed out of the Senate, but has stalled in the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives. Polls show that most Americans support giving legal status to the estimated 12 million illegal aliens who already live here, but the Senate bill also dramatically increases legal immigration into this country. Critics including Sen. Sessions argue that that would lead to trapping more Americans in poverty and would put increased pressure on the middle class. Business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argue that they need more workers and we need to import more consumers to grow the stagnant economy.
Sen. Jefferson “Jeff” Beauregard Sessions III has been a steadfast opponent of the legislation. Sessions faces re-election in Alabama this November, but does not have a single Democrat or Republican opponents so appears to be a prohibitive favorite to win a fourth term in the U.S. Senate.