Sessions Responds to Obama on Economic Impact of Immigration Reform

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) released a response to President Barack Obama and his White House for a report pushing the Senate immigration bill on Thursday--a report Sessions described as filled with largely inaccurate information favoring corporations and special interests driving the immigration reform debate.

“For a long time the Gang of Eight refused to acknowledge that their bill represented a historic increase in immigration levels, including a large surge in low-skill immigration,” Sessions said. “In its report today the White House embraced these increases as its central economic argument: what our economy needs most is a large increase in the number of low-skill workers. Perhaps we can finally have this debate out in the open--and dispense once and for all with the idea that the CEOs bankrolling the immigration push are concerned with anything other than reducing the cost of labor. It’s not about ‘reform’--it’s about profit.”

On Thursday morning, the White House published a blog post headlined: “State-by-State Reports: The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System.” In the post, the White House argued that “[c]ommonsense immigration reform will strengthen the U.S. economy and create jobs.”

“Independent studies affirm that commonsense immigration reform will increase economic growth by adding more high-demand workers to the labor force, increasing capital investment and overall productivity, and leading to greater numbers of entrepreneurs starting companies in the U.S.,” the White House wrote, before again endorsing the Senate “Gang of Eight” bill as one that it argued would economically boost the country and individual states.

Sessions fired back that the White House made that argument “preposterously,” and contrary to the evidence most experts have presented.

“The White House preposterously argues that this influx of new workers will raise wages, a conclusion not supported by any credible academic evidence or even CBO’s own report, which determined wages would fall for a dozen years,” Sessions said. “The leading expert on this issue, Dr. George Borjas, has found that high immigration levels from 1980–2000 resulted in an 8 percent income drop for lower-skill native workers--or almost $250 a month. There is a reason why workers earning $30,000 and under support a reduction over an increase in net immigration levels by a 3-1 margin.”

Sessions argued that the term “immigration reform” has become “synonymous with” the phrase “corporate welfare.”

“Wages have fallen since 1999 and only 55 percent of U.S. adults are now working. African-American youth looking for work cannot find a job,” Sessions said. "We don’t have a shortage of workers--we have a shortage of jobs. Yet the Senate bill, based on CBO data, would add 46 million mostly lower-skill legal immigrants by 2033. Does anyone really believe this will increase wages, reduce the number of unemployed, or reduce the strain on public benefits and local resources for those unable to find a job?”

In the release, Sessions also compiled extensive background evidence to prove those assertions.


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