Four Capitol Hill Republicans said a study Wednesday showing the comprehensive immigration bill proposed by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators — which would allow four times the number of temporary workers into the United States than a 2007 bill that was defeated over the same issue — would seriously harm the nation’s unemployed.
“This report is a bombshell,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama. “Today’s employment situation is far worse than when Congress considered the 2007 proposal. This large increase in guest workers guarantees that Americans’ wages will remain stagnant and that the unemployed will remain unemployed.
“This legislation surges the number of low-wage workers at the expense of the poor and middle class,” Sessions said.
The report, released on Wednesday by the Center for Immigration Studies, showed that in the first year under the bill, nearly 1.6 million more temporary workers would be admitted into the United States than are currently allowed.
Each year afterward, more than 600,000 such workers would be allowed into the country, according to the analysis.
These workers would be classified as “non-immigrants” — and would be in addition to the more than 30 million permanent legal immigrants expected to be created under the legislation over the next decade.
By contrast, the 2007 bill, which was defeated over concerns about a huge surge in foreign guest workers, would have admitted 125,000 temporary workers into the country each year.
The bipartisan “Gang of Eight” introduced its comprehensive immigration plan in April. The group includes Republican Marco Rubio of Florida and Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York.
The legislation passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last month with a number of amendments. It is expected to be debated by the full Senate starting next week.
“We must be able to both secure our borders and enforce current immigration laws before we even begin to talk about enacting any type of expanded guest-worker program,” Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana said on Wednesday. “How do we expect to improve our unemployment statistics, by adding millions of temporary workers to our labor force?
“We must make securing our borders and stopping the flow of illegal immigrants into our country our principal focus,” he said.
Rep. Morris Brooks, also of Alabama, called the bill “amnesty,” adding, “America is far and away the most generous nation in the world as regards to immigration.
“The Senate’s amnesty bill would — by creating a large, artificial increase in illegal alien labor — suppress wages and further increase unemployment,” Brooks said.
And Rep. Louis Barletta of Pennsylvania said: “Our immigration laws were created for two purposes: to protect our national security and to protect American jobs. The Senate Gang of Eight proposal does neither.”
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