The nation needs a comprehensive immigration policy that keeps out low-wage workers when so many Americans are unemployed, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions believes.
“The unemployment rate for teenagers is 25.1 percent,” Sessions said in an opinion piece on Friday for the National Review
. “Wages are stagnant. Never before have more Americans been on food stamps and other forms of welfare.
“Yet all we hear from those interests pushing for a comprehensive immigration bill is that we have a labor shortage and need to import more low-skill workers,” said Sessions, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We should be trying to help unemployed Americans find good jobs, not importing cheap labor to take these jobs.”
Members of a bipartisan group of senators said over the weekend that all of the major business-labor issues had been resolved in a pending deal to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.
They plan to put forward a deal after Congress returns from recess later this month.
Sessions said that any such legislation should not be rushed into law without “open public hearings on every aspect of this proposed reform — visa overstays, exit and entry systems, future flow, chain migration, the public-charge rule, fiscal impacts, worksite security, and law-enforcement concerns.”
He noted that the union representing the nation’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers “has asked repeatedly to be given a chance to participate in White House discussions and to speak with the Gang of Eight, but has been unable to get a meeting.”
The best plan right now, Sessions said, is “a well-planned welfare-to-work program, turning the welfare office into a job-placement center.
“Every American worker, union and non-union, is right to be concerned about a large guest-worker program combined with a large amnesty of illegal workers,” he said. “There is no doubt that such a program will reduce Americans’ wages and job prospects.”
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