U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga), and 15 of his conservative colleagues from the House of Representatives, delivered a letter today to President Barack Obama rejecting his calls to pass immigration reform bill.
In the letter, the lawmakers claim that legalization of undocumented immigrants would increase unemployment for American workers.
"We write to you today on behalf of the 21 million Americans who can't find a full-time job," say the congressmen in the letter. "We write to you on behalf of the 6 million Americans who are neither working nor in school. We write to you on behalf of the countless American workers whose wages today are lower than they were more than a decade ago. We write on behalf of the 90 million Americans over 16 – including early retirees, college grads living at home, and those living on welfare – who are not part of our nation's workforce.
"That is why we reject your call for the House to get an immigration bill to your desk that would permanently displace American workers."
President Obama and his party have been putting pressure on the House Republicans to pass an immigration bill early this year.
The Republican leadership in the House said that immigration legislation is on the list of their priorities for this year.
However, some have theorized that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) might try to wait until some of the 2014 primaries are over, perhaps until the end of April, to protect incumbents who might feel pressured to vote down any immigration bills out of concern for their seats.
The tide might be turning for immigration considering that this scathing letter was only signed by 16 lawmakers, out of 435 members.
Those who signed the letter are Republican Reps.: Mike Rogers of Alabama, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Steve Stockman of Texas, Steven Palazzo of MS, Joe Wilson of South Carolina, Lamar Smith of Texas, Steve King of IA, Ted Yoho of Florida, Michele Bachmann of MN, John Fleming of LA, Phil Gingrey of Georgia, Kerry Bentivoli of MI, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Walter Jones of North Carolina, Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania, and Mo Brooks of Alabama who wrote the letter.
The text of the letter is below:
January 8, 2014
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We write to you today on behalf of the 21 million Americans who can't find a full-time job. We write to you on behalf of the 6 million young Americans who are neither working nor in school. We write on behalf of the countless American workers whose wages today are lower than they were more than a decade ago. We write on behalf of the 90 million Americans over 16 - including early retirees, college grads living at home, and those living on welfare -who are not part of our nation 's workforce.
That is why we reject your call for the House to get an immigration bill to your desk that would permanently displace American workers. The Senate immigration bill, which the White House helped craft and which you personally endorse, would double the number of guest workers brought into this country at a time of crippling joblessness and falling incomes. On top of that, the Senate immigration bill would also add millions more permanent immigrant workers through green cards -handing out permanent residency to more than 30 million immigrants over the next decade. This represents a tripling of the normal green card rate.
CBO confirms that these immigrants will be mostly lower-skilled , and that wages for American citizens would fall while American unemployment would rise. Per-capita GNP would sink as well.
According to research from Harvard Professor Dr. George Borjas, low-skilled immigration has, between the years 1980 and 2000, resulted in nearly an 8% wage reduction for US-born workers without a high school degree. Rapidly expanding unskilled immigration -at time when factory work and blue collar jobs are disappearing -would represent the final economic blow for millions of workers who have been struggling to gain an economic foothold.
Yet, despite this jobs crisis for American workers, the White House continues to advocate that CEOs and business executives seek lower cost labor. The White House has entertained a parade of high-powered business executives to discuss immigration policy, all while shutting out the concerns of everyday wage-earners who overwhelmingly oppose these measures. You even released an economic report saying that the "hospitality and leisure industry " needs "legislation that would legalize workers in the U.S. and facilitate the lawful employment of future foreign born workers."
Is it the position of the White House that the hotel industry cannot be asked to find employees from among the legions of unemployed residing here today?
As Byron York notes in the Washington Examiner, many of the CEOs asking for new workers have been laying off thousands of their own workers.
So-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform may be a good deal for big businesses who want to reduce labor costs, and it may be a good deal for progressive labor unions seeking new workers from abroad, but it's an awful deal for US workers - including African-American and Hispanic communities enduring chronically high unemployment.
Job number one for Congress should be to reduce the unemployment rolls, get families and communities out of poverty and government dependency, rebuild our deteriorating communities and collapsing middle class, and increase wages for American citizens. Your immigration proposals do the exact opposite on every count.