By Byron Shehee
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Senator Jeff Sessions gave his thoughts recently on President Barack Obama’s Executive Amnesty plan, what it means for American workers and why Congress should block its implementation.
President Obama announced his plan for amnesty on November 20, 2014. An estimated 5 million illegal immigrants will receive legal status and work permits under the President’s plan. The President claims he had to take action due to House Republicans not allowing a vote on an immigration reform bill, which he believes would have passed the House with support from both parties.
Senator Sessions said the President’s actions are a part of his greater vision and “The legislation he endlessly champions—the bill written behind closed doors with immigration activists and open borders billionaires—surges immigration rates yet higher.”
Senator Sessions also asks a question that not too many people in Washington seem to be concerned with: “who is looking out for American workers?”
The answer is not one that illustrates a lot of confidence in our elected officials.
From 1980 through 2013, the politicians in Washington have allowed the immigrant population in the United States to rise from 14 to 41 million people. These immigrants have essentially flooded the job market with an excess of workers with an average of 1 million people from 1990 through present day. Even the White House’s own estimates indicate that there are three workers for every job available. This influx, and increased competition for employment, have essentially caused a drop in wages for workers age 18-34. The U.S. Department of Commerce said that today’s average 18-34 year-old workers typically earn about $2,000 less, when adjusted for inflation, than their counterparts did in 1980.
Further, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) has estimated that the number of immigrants could reach 54 million within a decade if our policies do not change. That’s a 30-plus percent increase from our current number of immigrants.
Some proponents claim that most of these workers perform jobs that Americans do not typically perform, like working in agriculture. But, statistics reveal that the guest workers, who typically work in agriculture, only account for 10 percent of the immigrant workforce.
With an estimated 5 million more work permits granted to immigrants who are here illegally, those immigrants will then be to apply for jobs that they otherwise would not be able to currently seek. Furthermore, nearly 1 out of 6 people in the United States will be foreign born by the 2030’s if current trends continue and President Obama’s plan is realized.
In addition, another fact about immigration and the U.S. economy remains: according to The Center for Immigration Studies “all net employment gains among the working-age since the year 2000 have gone to immigrant workers.”
Proponents and critics can continue to argue over ideological positions, but the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which provides Congress with nonpartisan analysis for economic and budget issues, projects that Obama’s amnesty plan will lower wages, raise unemployment, and lower the per capita gross national product (GNP). Additionally, the Heritage Foundation recently said that the total cost to taxpayers could reach as high as $2 trillion.
The problems associated with Washington’s policies will have consequences for years to come. Senator Sessions said, “How Congress answers this challenge will shape the future of this Republic. Will we defend and protect the people who sent us here—their laws, their Constitution, their communities —or will we abandon them?”
This issue is complex and each side has interests that they are trying to protect, but Senator Sessions is providing a voice of reason and is trying to defend the interest of the American worker. It remains to be seen if other politicians will place the American worker’s needs over that of the special interests that have staked a claim on this issue.