Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said the Senate's focus will be on passing a jobs bill with bi-partisan support. Eight Republican Senators, led by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) who also serves as the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent Sen. Reid a letter on Thursday asking him to include immigration-related provisions in the jobs bill.
In addition to Sen. Sessions, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Kent.) also signed the letter.
The statistics are sobering. Currently 15.3 million Americans are officially unemployed. If one adds the number of Americans who are underemployed, what the Department of Labor calls the U-6 unemployment rate, that number jumps to 26.5 million. Meanwhile, there are between 7 and 8 million illegal aliens in the U.S. labor market, many of whom have only recently entered the country.
In the letter, the eight Senators asked for six specific items:
- Setting clear enforcement policies that reverse dramatic declines in actions
- Permanently reauthorizing E-Verify
- Allowing employers to use E-Verify to verify the work authorization of current employees
- Reinstating the No-Match Rule, which directs employers to take specific actions upon learning that their employees' names and social security numbers do not match
- Increasing penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens
- Prohibiting employers from deducting wages paid to illegal aliens
Updated: Mon, Feb 8th 2010 @ 3:49pm EST