Texas GOP Rep: Immigration Policy Should Recognize Americans Need Jobs

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Immigration policymakers need to recognize many Americans do not have jobs and decent wages, Texas GOP Rep. Michael Burgess told an audience at a CPAC panel February 22.

“We need to have American jobs for American workers at American wages,” Burgess said, prompting applause from the friendly crowd. “I don’t know why that is so difficult to understand.”

Federal unemployment data hides a large number of Americans who have fallen out of the economy and are not even looking for jobs, he said. There are “5.5 million folks … who are out of the workforce and are not even counted anymore in that group of people who should be seeking jobs,” he said. 

Burgess’ comments are a sharp contrast from statements by business-first Republicans who argue that immigration policy should be built around the investors’ preference for plentiful, cheap labor, or the desire of myriad foreigners to get American jobs. 

For example, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters on January 21 he wants to import more low-wage workers:

We need more legal immigration. … I don’t want green cards just for computer engineers. If you are out there working in the fields, if you are a construction worker, I want some of those people to have a way to stay here, because if you are running a business and you have a guest worker who is really good, and would add value to our country, I want them to have a chance to get a green card. I just don’t want to be a country in the future of just computer engineers or high-tech people.

Maine’s GOP Sen. Susan Collins said February 15 that: 

rather than going after a chemistry professor who has been in this country for many years and has contributed greatly to his community and sending him back to his native land at time when he was on his way to pick up his child from school, that the first priority—not the only priority— [of immigration enforcement] should be to go after people who have committed felonies, serious misdemeanors, multiple less serious misdemeanors, are a threat to public health or safety. Wouldn’t most Americans agree that that is where our resources should be targeted?

Burgess also warned that politicians need to recognize that the public does not trust their promises to deliver future security in exchange for an amnesty today.

“People need to see some tangible response that border security is being taken seriously,” he said. Burgess continued:

People are suspicious. Ronald Reagan is held up as a hero in Texas — except for the Simpson–Mazzoli [1986 amnesty] bill … where President Reagan was promised ‘Give us the amnesty today and you’ll get your border security tomorrow.

There is a fear that Congress will promise [security] and not deliver — people need to see something tangible. That is what the wall is to them.

“I think that is why when the President campaigned about building a wall, it resonated with people,” he said.

Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market.

But the federal government inflates the supply of new labor by annually accepting roughly 1.1 million new legal immigrants, by providing work-permits to roughly 3 million resident foreigners, and by doing little to block the employment of roughly 8 million illegal immigrants.

The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via mass-immigration floods the market with foreign laborspikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate priceswidens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.




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