Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member
of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following comments in
response to a new state-by-state White House report, released today,
touting the supposed economic benefits of a comprehensive immigration
bill like the Senate's Gang of Eight plan:
a long time the Gang of Eight refused to acknowledge
that their bill represented a historic increase in immigration levels,
including a large surge in low-skill immigration. In its report today
the White House embraced these increases as its central economic
argument: what our economy needs most is a large increase
in the number of low-skill workers.
we can finally have this debate out in the open--and
dispense once and for all with the idea that the CEOs bankrolling the
immigration push are concerned with anything other than reducing the
cost of labor. It's not about "reform"--it's about profit.
White House preposterously argues that this influx of
new workers will raise wages, a conclusion not supported by any credible
academic evidence or even CBO's own report, which determined wages
would fall for a dozen years. The leading expert on this issue, Dr.
George Borjas, has found that high immigration levels
from 1980-2000 resulted in an 8 percent income drop for lower-skill
native workers--or almost $250 a month. There is a reason why workers
earning $30,000 and under support a reduction over an increase in net
immigration levels by a 3-1 margin.
have fallen since 1999 and only 55 percent of U.S.
adults are now working. African-American youth looking for work cannot
find a job. We don't have a shortage of workers--we have a shortage of
the Senate bill, based on CBO data, would add 46 million
mostly lower-skill legal immigrants by 2033. Does anyone really believe
this will increase wages, reduce the number of unemployed, or reduce the
strain on public benefits and local resources for those unable to find a
Immigration reform has become synonymous with corporate welfare.
It's time we became more concerned with the welfare of millions of struggling workers and taxpayers.
guiding principle of immigration reform should be what's
in the national interest. We have grave and growing social and economic
problems throughout our nation that must be addressed--dependency,
chronic joblessness, and broken homes. We need an immigration policy in
accordance with reality, not fantasy--one that allows
for upward mobility, builds community confidence, reduces government
dependency, and promotes rising wages for both native-born and immigrant
White House employed Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) to prepare
these state reports. This economics consulting company has a reputation
large, positive impact results on behalf of its clients. City
governments, for example, contract with REMI to show huge economic gains
from new sports stadiums. The predictions are almost universally more
positive than the end results.
surprisingly, then, the White House argues that each state will see
economic growth as a result of comprehensive immigration reform. This
stems mostly from simple increases in state population due to more
States generously allows around 1 million people to enter the country
each year; the Senate immigration bill would roughly triple that
number). It is well known that the total amount of goods and services
grows any time you increase the population in
White House report ignores how individuals or working families would be
affected by the supposed benefits of a surge in mostly low-skilled
What is the economic gain if the total economy is larger but the average
person is less well-off? As the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
Gross National Product under comprehensive immigration reform would
actually be negative, not positive, even though the total size of the
economy would be bigger; common sense and any logical analysis would show the same result at the state level. Per person economic change is the best
measurement of economic gain. Not only should the economic pie be bigger, but each individual's slice should grow, as well.
reports are completely silent on how much larger the state populations
would grow as a result of chain migration. Under the Senate-passed
green card holders (both illegal immigrants who attain LPR status, as
well as future illegal immigrants) can apply for an unlimited
number of visas for their children and spouses. The Gang of Eight bill
boosts chain migration in other ways as well. These relatives may be
non-working family members who use public services but do not contribute
taxes or economic output. Indeed, the reports
do not mention the costs that increased immigration will have on state
and local infrastructure, schools, etc.
White House's state reports do not discuss state changes in the
unemployment rate. This may not be surprising, since the CBO forecasted
an increase in
the U.S. unemployment rate should the Senate's comprehensive reform bill
become law. CBO's finding follows accepted academic research that shows
that a sudden increase in immigration causes native-born workers
(particularly African-American workers) to lose
their jobs or fail to find new ones. This is because the similarly
skilled immigrant will work for a lower wage, whether he or she is a
farm worker or a computer programmer.
White House argues that immigration reform would reduce the federal
deficit thanks to the new taxes paid by immigrants. However, they fail
CBO's careful caveat that using Social Security and Medicare taxes to
pay for general government today creates an IOU for these very same
funds that the Social Security and Medicare Trustees will one day ask
the U.S. Treasury to pay. In short, counting these
funds for deficit reduction today when they should be set aside for the
payroll tax paye
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