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Sessions to GOP: Champion working class, not ‘activist CEOs’ who want cheap immigrant labor

Illegal immigrants jump a fence along the U.S.-Mexican borden (Photo: Bob Moore)
Illegal immigrants jump a fence along the U.S.-Mexican borden (Photo: Bob Moore)

Since the year 2000, all of America’s employment growth has gone to immigrant workers — both legal and illegal — while the total number of working-age Americans without a job increased by 17 million over the same time period.

That is the stunning conclusion of a just-released report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). The study was released Friday on the one-year anniversary of the Senate’s passage of so-called “comprehensive immigration reform,” also referred to as the Gang of Eight’s proposal.

Here are five key statistics contained in the CIS study:

1. In the first quarter of 2000, there were 114.8 million working-age natives holding a job; by the first quarter of 2014 that number had actually dropped to 114.7 million.

2. Because the population was rising over that same time period, there were 17 million more working-age Americans not working in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000.

3. The employment rate of immigrants increased from 2000 to 2007 and has recovered more quickly from the Great Recession than natives.

4. Since the jobs recovery began in 2010, 43 percent of employment growth has gone to immigrants.

5. The supply of potential workers is enormous: 8.7 million native college graduates are not working, as are 17 million with some college, and 25.3 million with no more than a high school education.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) prepares for a television interview in the Russell Senate Office Building (Photo: Facebook)
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) prepares for a television interview in the Russell Senate Office Building (Photo: Facebook)

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who has been the Senate’s most vocal opponent of the Gang of Eight’s proposal, released a lengthy statement today in response to the CIS study.

“The findings in this report are shocking, and represent a dramatic indictment of immigration policy in Washington D.C. This report also underscores the economic catastrophe that would have ensued had the Gang of Eight’s legislation, passed in the Senate one year ago today, been moved through the House and signed into law,” he said. “Not only did the Gang of Eight plan provide amnesty to illegal workers (and help entice a new wave of illegal immigration), but it surged the rate of new low-skilled immigration at a time of low wages and high unemployment. Such a proposal would have hollowed out the middle class.”

Session said that in spite of the CIS study’s findings, President Obama continues to push immigration reforms that would drive American wages down even further.

“President Obama and congressional Democrats remain focused on the demands of activist CEOs who want new labor at the lowest price,” he said. “Republicans must sever themselves from these demands and present themselves to the American public as the one party focused on everyday working people. The sensible, conservative, fair thing to do after 40 years of record immigration is to slow down a bit, allow assimilation to occur, allow wages to rise, and to help workers of all backgrounds rise together into the middle class.”

Along with The Center for Immigration Studies’s report, CIS also released three conclusions they took away from their study:

First, the long-term decline in the employment for natives across age and education levels is a clear indication that there is no general labor shortage, which is a primary justification for the large increases in immigration (skilled and unskilled) in the Schumer-Rubio bill and similar House proposals.

Second, the decline in work among the native-born over the last 14 years of high immigration is consistent with research showing that immigration reduces employment for natives.

Third, the trends since 2000 challenge the argument that immigration on balance increases job opportunities for natives. Over 17 million immigrants arrived in the country in the last 14 years, yet native employment has deteriorated significantly.

The White House and Congressional Democrats have given House Republicans until July 31st to decide what they want to do with the Gang of Eight’s bill. In the mean time, pro-immigration reform lobbying efforts backed by major tech executives continue to target House Republicans.

Sessions has urged the House to reject the proposal.

“Republicans in the House need to stand up for the American worker,” Sessions said on Fox News in January. “Their interests are being ignored. The big government groups, the special interest groups, the lobbying groups — they’re all out in full force. Somebody needs to stand up for [the workers]. The Party that does that will be rewarded by the American people in elections.”


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims