On Friday, after conceding that last month’s jobs report was disappointing and not as favorable as the White House had expected, President Barack Obama’s Labor Secretary advocated for comprehensive immigration reform to improve the economy.
Saying the jobs report shows the Obama administration has more “work to do,” Thomas Perez said on CNBC that immigration reform, in addition to promise zones, was needed to jumpstart the economy.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, said that is exactly the wrong approach to take, as the Congressional Budget Office determined that comprehensive immigration reform would lower the wages of American workers. Sessions said that if Obama gets amnesty legislation passed this year he will have to create more economic “promise zones” for the American workers that would be displaced after comprehensive immigration reform.
Sessions also said that Obama’s announcement of economic promise zones on Thursday “represents an admission that five years of tax, spend, borrow, and regulate have produced economic misery for countless Americans” and noted that Obama’s “policies are growing the government and shrinking the middle class.”
“Yet what is the President’s top second-term priority? Is it a plan to help Americans on unemployment and welfare find good, paying jobs?,” Sessions said. “No, the top priority remains an immigration bill crafted by CEOs that will double the flow of new workers from abroad to compete in every industry and sector throughout the U.S. economy. If the President succeeds in pushing through the House his plan to take jobs needed by Americans, he will have to create many more ‘promise zones’ for the millions of displaced workers.”
Sessions also noted that since Obama “declared the end of the recession, conditions for working Americans have not improved” and noted that his economic advisor has even said that there are three people looking for every one job available as there are 91.5 million Americans outside the workforce.
After the disappointing jobs report, Sessions again emphasized that America has a “loose” and not a “tight” labor market and the best way to help “struggling Americans get off of welfare, off of unemployment, and into good-paying jobs” is not to work for the so-called “masters of the universe” that are “demanding more workers from Congress when millions of Americans are unemployed.”
“America is not an oligarchy. House Republicans need to tell the President firmly: we work for the American people,” Sessions said. “We reject any immigration plan that puts special interests before working Americans. We are going to defend the working people of this country. A small group of CEOs does not get to set immigration policy for our country. We will not enrich the political class at the expense of the middle class.”