Chairman of the Senate's immigration subcommittee, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), wrote an op-ed in Roll Call calling for the GOP to curb immigration.
In the op-ed they write that the national narrative on immigration pushed by corporations and lawmakers has failed to address historical facts.
“Here are the forbidden facts which have been edited out:
The great and broadly-shared middle-class growth that occurred in the 20th century took place during a period of low immigration.”
Sessions and Brat described how wages for American workers grew during a low-immigration period in the mid-20th century and how many Americans were able to climb their way into the middle class.
“According to the Congressional Research Service, from 1945 to 1970 — as the foreign-born population fell — the bottom 90 percent of wage earners saw an 82.5 percent increase in their wages. During this time, millions of prior immigrants were able to climb out of the tenements and into the middle class.”
They then note that this earlier progress was reversed when Congress lifted the immigration caps in the 1960s, quadrupling the foreign-born population to more than the 42 million America has today.
“This ongoing immigration wave continues during a time when workers are being replaced with automation, when record numbers are living on welfare and when manufacturing plants are closing their doors. All of this has combined to help create an immense wage-compressing surplus of labor: 66 million working-age residents are not working. Real average hourly earnings are lower now than they were in 1973.
The Congressional Research Service reports that during the 43 years between 1970 and 2013 — when the foreign-born population grew 325 percent — incomes for the bottom 90 percent of earners fell nearly 8 percent.”
Even as immigration reaches historic highs Sessions and Brat point out that many DC politicians remain quiet on this issue.
“Rhetorical games grow weary. We’ve had vastly more immigration than ever before, but our politicians pretend like we’ve had very little. Nearly 1 in 4 residents aged 25-53 is not working, but our politicians talk of needing more immigration to fill ‘labor shortages’.”
Sessions and Brat say that “what is missing from the conversation is a sense of moderation, of limits and of compassion for struggling families.”
“It is not caring, but callous, to bring in so many workers that there are not enough jobs for them or those already living here. It is not mainstream, but extreme, to continue surging immigration beyond all historical precedent. And it is not rational, but radical, to refuse to recognize limits.”
In order to prevent a new population that “will add another 103 million residents” or the population equivalent of “25 cities of Los Angeles” to the U.S. over the next five decades, Sessions and Brat suggest only taking in as many immigrants as our nation can handle socially and economically.
“We should only admit as many new arrivals as we can reasonably expect to absorb into our schools, labor markets and communities. We must never admit so large a number that the immigrants themselves are unlikely to enter the middle class or achieve stable incomes. And we have to recognize that there are record millions already living inside our borders in desperate need of a job.”
Read the full op-ed at Roll Call.
Updated: Tue, Nov 3rd 2015 @ 1:00pm EST