Sen. Jeff Sessions Thursday slammed Democrats for supporting President Barack Obama's amnesty orders, which will grant work permits to as many as five million illegals amid chronically high unemployment among Americans.
"They are protecting an illegal executive order that would give another five million work permits to illegal immigrants to take any job in America," the Alabama Republican said in testimony on the Senate floor.
He is the ranking GOP member on the Senate Budget Committee.
"Americans think we should make it harder for companies to hire illegal immigrants," Sessions added. "This unlawful amnesty allows illegal immigrants to compete for jobs in every industry, sector and occupation in the country."
Senate Democrats blocked for a third time on Thursday legislation that would finance the Department of Homeland Security while reversing Obama's unilateral actions.
The 52-47 vote fell eight short of the 60 needed to the bill to the Senate floor for debate and a full vote. Two other procedural votes earlier in the week yielded similar outcomes.
Homeland Security funding will lapse Feb. 27 without action. The legislation was passed last month by the House.
Democrats say they won't agree to the bill in the Senate unless it is stripped of all the immigration language. Republicans say such a bill won't pass the House.
Republican leaders in both chambers insist they will not allow the Homeland Security agency to go without funding at a time of global terror threats.
In his testimony, Sessions cited data released Thursday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that, while one million Americans lost their jobs between 2007 and last year, two million immigrants gained jobs during the period.
According to the information:
- U.S. employment rolls increased by only one million people between 2007 and last year.
- In December 2007, 146.3 million U.S. residents were employed, both immigrants and American-born In December 2014, 147.2 million residents who had jobs — an increase of about 1 million.
- All of those new jobs went to foreign workers, according to the BLS data. In 2007, 123.5 million Americans had jobs, compared with 122.3 million in 2014 — a decline of about one million.
- For immigrants, 22.8 million were employed in 2007, versus 24.9 million in 2014 — a gain of about two million.
- From 2007 to 2014, two million foreign workers were added to the employment rolls, while about a million Americans were dropped — hence, the net increase of one million jobs.
- By comparison, nine million immigrants, legal and illegal, came to the United States between 2007 and last year. "Nine million immigrants were added during a time when we produced only one million jobs," Sessions said on the floor.
- In addition, the number of Americans ages 16 and over increased by about 11 million during the period. "Roughly, 11 million more American adults, but one million fewer American workers with jobs," he said.
- Thirteen million more Americans who were born in this country were not working last year than in 2000.
"The long-term trends are just as bad," Sessions said, noting news reports that the Obama administration has printed an additional 5.5 million work permits for illegals.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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