May 06 2014
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Ranking Member of the Budget Committee, issued the following statement today regarding a unilateral change to immigration law that would provide nearly 100,000 additional guest worker permits immediately through the spouses of guest workers, plus approximately 30,000 additional guest worker permits each year thereafter:
“Yet again, the Administration is acting unilaterally to change immigration law in a way that hurts American workers. Fifty million working-age Americans aren’t working. Research shows as many as half of new technology jobs may be going to guest workers. Yet the Administration is now going to immediately add almost 100,000 new guest workers to compete against unemployed Americans—on top of the existing annual supply of approximately 700,000 guest workers and 1 million new permanent immigrant admissions. This will help corporations by further flooding a slack labor market, pulling down wages. It is good news for citizens in other countries who will be hired. But for struggling Americans, it will only reduce wages, lower job opportunities, and make it harder to scrape by. Who does the Administration represent?”
Nearly 1 in 2 recent college graduates are underemployed and approximately 1 in 3 African-American youth is unemployed.
Temporary guest workers, brought in for a few years to fill a job at lower wages before being sent back to their home country, are frequently hired in professions where large numbers of qualified Americans are available and seeking work—in a diverse range of occupations and skill levels that includes STEM. As Rutgers Professor Hal Salzman has written:
When we consider the supply for the science and engineering workforce, which is about 5 to 8 percent of the overall workforce, we find that the colleges graduate about twice the number of science and engineering students each year as hired into those job. Even in fields such as engineering and computer science, the number of graduates is 50 percent greater than the number hired. At the secondary school level, there are certainly significant educational problems for certain areas and students, but overall, U.S. students are completing more math and science than ever before—over the past 20 years, about 50 percent more complete subjects such as chemistry, algebra II/trigonometry, biology and physics – and test score performance shows steady increases for all students. In terms of actual supply of high performing students in science and math, the U.S. produces the lion’s share of these students in the world.
Additionally, the new guest worker permits will not be limited to higher-skilled temporary positions. Indeed, even with the H-1B temporary guest worker positions, as recently noted by the International Business Times, “52 percent of all requests for H-1B workers were recorded by employers as entry-level positions. [Rochester Institute of Technology professor Ron] Hira, who has studied the H-1B program for years, says he’s never seen an instance where the Department of Labor has audited employers’ claims that the position actually pays a salary commensurate with the experience and skills of guest-workers they want to hire.”
The White House-backed Senate immigration bill would double the arrival of new guest workers, while providing 30 million mostly lesser-skilled permanent immigrants with permanent residency through green cards, to compete in all sectors of the U.S. economy—from manufacturing to teaching to hotel work—against the existing unemployed, including recent immigrants now living in the U.S.