Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) sent a memo this morning to all Congressional Republicans calling the "GOP elite" pro-amnesty and pro-open border immigration view "nonsense."
The same set of GOP strategists, lobbyists, and donors who have always favored a proposal like the Gang of Eight immigration bill argue that the great lesson of the 2012 election is that the GOP needs to push for immediate amnesty and a drastic surge in low-skill immigration.This is nonsense.
Sessions suggests that if Republicans want to win elections in the future, they need to adopt "humble and honest populism" that can appeal to "working Americans of all backgrounds."
Now is the time to speak directly to the real and legitimate concerns of millions of hurting Americans whose wages have declined and whose job prospects have grown only bleaker. This humble and honest populism—in contrast to the Administration’s cheap demagoguery—would open the ears of millions who have turned away from our party. Of course, such a clear and honest message would require saying “no” to certain business demands and powerful interests who shaped the immigration bill in the Senate.
The Alabama Senator goes on to say that if S.744 becomes law "Low-income Americans will be hardest hit."
Sessions says the bill:
"adds four times more guest workers than the rejected 2007 immigration plan while dramatically boosting the number of low-skill workers admitted to the country each year on a permanent basis. All this at a time when wages are lower than in 1999, when only 58 percent of U.S. adults are working, and when 47 million residents are on food stamps. Even CBO confirms that the proposal will reduce wages and increase unemployment. Low-income Americans will be hardest hit.
Senator Sessions defends the American worker and criticizes fellow Republicans who are only interested in catering to big business.
A few in our party will argue that immigration reform must “serve the needs of businesses.” What about the needs of workers? Since when did we did we accept the idea that the immigration policy for our entire nation—with all its lasting social, economic, and moral implications—should be tailored to suit the financial interests of a few CEOs?
The Senator states that a majority of Americans are opposed to increasing immigration, especially the working class.
Americans broadly oppose further increases to our current generous immigration levels by a 2-1 margin, but the opposition among those earning less than $30,000 is especially strong: they prefer a reduction to an increase by a 3-1 margin. And no wonder: according to Harvard’s Dr. George Borjas, it’s the working poor whose wages have declined the most as a result of high immigration levels.
Sessions points out that it will be a lose-lose situation for House Republicans if they decide to support the Gang of Eight bill.
The GOP has a choice: it can either deliver President Obama his ultimate legislative triumph—and with it, a crushing hammer blow to working Americans that they will not soon forgive—or it can begin the essential drive to regain the trust of struggling Americans who have turned away. As Rich Lowry and Bill Kristol wrote in a joint op-ed, “the Gang of Eight bill unleashes a flood of additional low-skilled immigration. The last thing low-skilled native and immigrant workers already here should have to deal with is wage-depressing competition from newly arriving workers… It’s most important that the party perform better among working-class and younger voters concerned about economic opportunity and upward mobility.”
Senator Sessions advises Republicans to put priority on enforcement and border security.
The GOP should insist on an approach to immigration that both restores constitutional order and serves the interests of the American worker and taxpayer. But only by refusing any attempt at rescue or reprieve for the Senate bill is there a hope of accomplishing these goals.
To read Senator Sessions's full letter, click The Weekly Standard.
Updated: Mon, Jul 29th 2013 @ 6:16pm EDT