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Rick Santorum Welcomes Donald Trump to the Fight for American Workers

GOP presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum spoke at the National Press Club on Thursday in Washington, D.C., telling the audience that in America no one is above the law, “including presidents, judges, and, yes, immigrants.”

He said fellow GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has joined Santorum—who was the first GOP candidate to have a detailed immigration plan—in being for the American workers, rather than the illegal immigrants.

Santorum opened with discussing how his grandfather immigrated to the United States, but his family had to stay behind for several years until after he was a legal citizen. He asked his father many years later if he was angry at America for keeping the family apart from Santorum’s grandfather during that time.

He said, “No, America was worth the wait.” Santorum said he was right.

Santorum explained that, during his grandfather’s time, the immigration laws limited the number of illegal immigrants coming into the United States to 178,000, and that was the law for 40 years; however, Ted Kennedy, sponsor of the Kennedy Bill in 1990, increased that limit to more than one million per year.

Santorum explained that the Kennedy Bill hasn’t worked.

“Thanks to the incentives offered by President Obama and bills like the Gang of Eight immigration proposal, last year the number of illegal immigrants rose to almost 700,000. That brings the total number of immigrants in this country to a record 42 million immigrants comprising 13.3 percent of the U.S. population, the highest level in 105 years,” Santorum stressed.

Santorum said the question Americans must answer is whether or not the immigration laws allowing the flood of immigrants is in the best interest for the country. He argued that, due to the illegal immigrants in the job market, real hourly wages have only increased one dollar in the past 25 years.

“From 2000 to 2014 there were 5.7 million net new jobs created for workers aged 16-65 and all of them went to immigrants in spite of a 17 million increase in native born workers,” Santorum argued.

He mocked Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who claims to be for the American worker, saying her agenda would continue to increase illegal immigrants, which would continue to claim American jobs.

“To the president and Mrs. Clinton immigration is only about dividing America by injecting ethnic and racial politics into this debate, not doing right by struggling American workers,” he said.

Santorum said he is offering the opposite of Clinton—“the opportunity to rise if you work hard and obey the law. My proposal is based on hope and opportunity, not fear and bigotry.”

“I am not running for president for the sake of power or profit, I am running for president to fight for real people, who have real families, and who are struggling to make ends meet,” he vowed.

He referenced the 35 million illegal and legal immigrants who came to America over the past twenty years who are low skilled workers, arguing they compete with American workers who do not have a college degree.

Santorum said America needs an immigration policy that puts the American worker first and allows families to get the economy to thrive. “Contrary to what the elites along the coast think, the economy does not start on Wall Street and end on Route 128. The economy starts with the family and includes many routes and streets, including Main Street.”

Santorum was the first GOP presidential candidate to put forth a detailed immigration plan.

He also took time to jab not only Clinton on immigration, but also some of his fellow GOP presidential candidates.

“Unlike some who are running for president today, I was never a member of a Senate ‘gang,’” Santorum said, referencing Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for their failed Gang of Eight immigration bill that included a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in America. “I understood amnesty was not a solution but a perpetuation of a problem.”

“Whether it was the path to citizenship in the Gang of Eight bill or the right to permanent work permit supported by Ted Cruz and others, it is amnesty,” Santorum clarified.

He said Gov. Scott Walker changed his position on immigration. Donald Trump “has joined a majority of Americans and me with some ideas on helping to put American workers first.”

Santorum said he would build a wall on the southern border—something Trump also has promised to do. Santorum said he would also use new technology with more manpower to secure the border and end the Obama administration’s catch and release policy.

Santorum also said he would make sure immigrants don’t overstay their visas, which he said is the largest factor that contributes to the increasing illegal immigrants in America.

He supports Kate’s Law and vows to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities that won’t enforce federal immigration laws.

“I will propose we join every other developed country in the world save one, and put an end to automatic citizenship for children born here to illegal immigrants,” he stated.

Santorum said he believes immigration is a good thing, but there can be too much of a good thing when the labor market can’t support such an increasing influx.

“This is not anti-immigrant, this is pro-worker, especially those who are most affected by waves of new workers—recent immigrants, minorities, and younger workers.”

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