The Wall Street Journal editorial board accused Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and the Heritage Foundation of being lockstep with the AFL-CIO and other labor unions because of their aggressive opposition to amnesty.
“The populist wing of the [Republican] party has talked itself into believing the zero-sum economics that immigrants steal jobs from U.S. citizens and reduce American living standards,” the WSJ wrote on Thursday. “Neither claim is true, but Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and the Heritage Foundation might as well share research staffs with the AFL-CIO.”
The WSJ‘s piece focused on how House Speaker John Boehner placed blame for dropping a push for amnesty on President Barack Obama’s selective enforcement of laws. The newspaper blamed Republicans like Sessions for the stall in immigration legislation and talk radio, as well.
“So great is the House GOP fear of a talk-radio backlash that it won’t even pass smaller bills that 75% of Republicans agree on,” the WSJ wrote.
Thirty-two Senate Republicans, including every member of Senate GOP leadership, voted against the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” bill, while only 14 voted for it. And at the recent House GOP retreat, about 80% of those who spoke up opposed bringing forward immigration legislation in 2014.
However, the AFL-CIO, like the WSJ, endorsed the Senate Gang of Eight bill. The AFL-CIO actually helped, alongside the Chamber of Commerce, write that bill that the WSJ supports.
Critics say they oppose amnesty and a significant increase in legal immigration is because American workers are currently struggling to find work. More than a hundred million Americans are either officially unemployed or have left the workforce, according to the Department of Labor. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Senate immigration bill would drive unemployment numbers up for American workers – and for those lucky enough to find or keep a job, the Senate immigration bill would drive their wages down.
In early January, a group of 16 House Republicans, led by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), wrote about these concerns in a letter to President Obama:
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. 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.”