16 House Republicans to Obama: Amnesty 'Final Economic Blow' for American Workers

Sixteen House Republicans led by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) are demanding President Barack Obama get unemployed Americans back to work before granting amnesty to illegal aliens or bringing unprecedented levels of new immigrants to take jobs away from American workers.

“We write to you today on behalf of the 21 million Americans who can’t find a full time job,” the GOP members of the House wrote to President Obama Wednesday. 

We write to you on behalf of the 6 million young Americans who are neither working nor in school. We write on behalf of the countless American workers whose wages today are lower than they were more than a decade ago. We write on behalf of the 90 million Americans over 16 – including early retirees, college grads living at home, and those living on welfare – who are not part of our nation’s workforce.

Because of massive and perpetual unemployment statistics, the GOP congressmen argued that Obama should stop pushing for a large immigration bill that would contain amnesty – any legal status for any illegal alien – and a massive increase in legal immigration. “That is why we reject your call for the House to get an immigration bill to your desk that would permanently displace American workers,” they wrote. 

The Senate immigration bill, which the White House helped craft and you personally endorse, would double the number of guest workers brought into this country at a time of crippling joblessness and falling incomes. On top of that, the Senate immigration bill would also add millions more permanent immigrant workers through green cards – handing out permanent residency to more than 30 million immigrants over the next decade. This represents a tripling of the normal green card rate.

In addition to Brooks, Reps. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI), Lou Barletta (R-PA), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Walter Jones (R-NC), Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), John Fleming (R-LA), Steve King (R-IA), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Jeff Duncan (R-SC), each signed the letter.

Cotton is significant because he is a U.S. Senate candidate against Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), who supported amnesty in the Senate. Smith is a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and current chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

The letter serves two major and equally important purposes for the conservative movement. 

First, this represents a major platoon of House Republicans stepping forward in an organized manner against amnesty efforts right as House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) make organized moves towards amnesty with the backing of the Chamber of Commerce. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue announced Wednesday morning that the Chamber is planning a massive push to try to get immigration legislation passed out of the House, which would result in more cheap labor for its clients.

Second, this offers Republicans an actual and legitimate counter-argument to the Democrats’ and institutional left’s coming poverty, income inequality, and unemployment benefits pushes. The left is gearing up for such a debate to kick off 2014, and Republicans like National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) told the Wall Street Journal that Republicans should seize this opportunity. “It’s very beneficial for us to talk about the things we are for, the things we care about, and most importantly how they impact the lives of people around the country,” Moran said.

The House GOP members cite the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as a source in their letter to Obama that confirms the new immigrants would be mostly low-skilled workers and that the increases would spark a decline in American workers’ wages and employment prospects. They also cite research from Harvard professor Dr. George Borjas, who states that from 1980 to 2000, American workers’ wages plummeted by at least eight percent as a direct result of legal low-skilled immigration.

“Rapidly expanding unskilled immigration – at a time when factory work and blue collar jobs are disappearing – would represent the final economic blow for millions of workers who have been struggling to gain an economic foothold,” the members wrote. 

Yet, despite this jobs crisis for American workers, the White House continues to advocate that CEOs and business executives seek lower cost labor. The White House has entertained a parade of high-powered business executives to discuss immigration policy, all while shutting out the concerns of everyday wage-earners who overwhelmingly oppose these measures. You even released an economic report saying that the "hospitality and leisure industry" needs "legislation that would legalize workers in the U.S. and facilitate the lawful employment of future foreign-born workers."

The GOP congressmen then posed a question to the president: “Is it the position of the White House that the hotel industry cannot be asked to find employees from among the legions of unemployed residing here today?”

They also cited a recent report from Byron York in the Washington Examiner showing how companies that have been begging for new workers from overseas have laid off thousands of American workers in recent months.

The 16 GOP congressman argued that pushing for a “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” package, whether it be in one bill or in a series of piecemeal or step-by-step bills, is essentially crony capitalism that would disproportionately harm the black and Hispanic communities in America.

"So-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform may be a good deal for big businesses who want to reduce labor costs, and it may be a good deal for progressive labor unions seeking new workers from abroad, but it’s an awful deal for US workers – including African-American and Hispanic communities enduring chronically high unemployment,” they wrote. “Job number one for Congress should be to reduce the unemployment rolls, get families and communities out of poverty and government dependency, rebuild our deteriorating communities and collapsing middle class, and increase wages for American citizens. Your immigration proposals do the exact opposite on every count.”

Letter_Immigration_January 2014_pdf


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