Jeff Flake: ‘There Must Always’ Be Low-Skilled Immigration to U.S.

AP File Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

“There must always” be a flow low-skilled immigration to the United States, no matter its impact on American workers, according to Republican establishment figure Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

Flake slammed the idea of potentially cutting legal immigration levels in half to raise the wages of American workers and end the current low-skilled oriented system to make only admit immigrants based on their skills and merit in a New York Times op-ed.

Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) introduced the specific plan, known as the “RAISE Act.” President Donald Trump endorsed the plan and said the legislation “will reduce poverty, increase wages, and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars,” among other things.

Flake derided the plan, saying the current legal immigration system, where the U.S. admits more than one million low-skilled legal immigrants a year, must continue:

When President Trump embraced a proposal this month that would cut legal immigration by 50 percent, I spoke out against it, thinking of the immigrant workers I grew up with. When re-evaluating immigration policy, it is right to give priority, through a point system or otherwise, to those who have skills and abilities unique to the new economy. We did this in 2013, in the bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate. But there must always be a place in America for those whose only initial credentials are a strong back and an eagerness to use it.

The “Gang of Eight” pro-immigration legislation Flake referred to in the op-ed would have legalized the estimated 12 to 30 million living in the U.S. Under the amnesty plan, then-Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said Flake’s amnesty plan would have “hollowed out the middle class” by legalizing millions of illegal aliens, further depressing U.S. wages, and making it harder for Americans to find work. A study by the Center for Immigration Studies confirmed Sessions’ sentiment.

Flake, in the New York Times op-ed, makes his case by telling the story of an illegal alien worker whom his father hired at their family ranch. The Arizona senator explained that Americans could not handle the grueling job that the native Mexican worker could.

While telling the worker’s story, Flake did not mention some of the latest immigration research which shows how the current mass legal immigration into the U.S. has driven down Americans’ wages by at least 5.2 percent, according to the National Academy of Sciences.

The RAISE Act would include:

  • Reducing number of Green Cards given out every year from about one million to 500,000
  • Prioritizing immediate family households, thus ending extended family chain migration to the U.S.
  • Creating visa program for U.S. citizens to bring elderly parents to U.S. for caretaking purposes
  • Eliminating the diversity visa lottery, where 50,000 visas are “arbitrarily allocated” every year
  • Capping permanent U.S. refugees resettlement to 50,000 migrants per year

Flake, who is currently running for re-election, was called out by Trump for his pro-amnesty immigration stances, where the president said via Twitter, “Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He’s toxic!”

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.


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