Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican, is marking Labor Day with a statement lamenting the decline in America’s workforce and the strident push toward passing an immigration bill.
First, Sessions focuses on the sorry state of the American economy, where the unemployment rate is a staggering 7.4 percent. “As the nation recognizes Labor Day too many Americans remain without work,” says Sessions in his statement.
“A new study confirms that the labor-force participation rate is at a thirty-year low – meaning that small improvements in the employment rate have masked the deeper trend of a shrinking labor force with more people retiring early, going on disability, turning to welfare, and giving up looking for work altogether. Another troubling indicator is the record-high teenage unemployment: in 1999, half of teenagers had a summer job; today, it’s a mere third. Wages are also lower today than they were in 1999. Meanwhile, 1 in 3 without a high school diploma remains without a job. This is more than temporary problem but an alarming trend: the workforce is shrinking and the welfare rolls are expanding.
Then, Sessions questions the action many are taking even knowing the facts about the American economy – the push toward an immigration bill. “Yet what is the message from the White House, certain businesses interests, and their allies in Congress?” Sessions asks.
And he answers: “Bring in more workers from overseas to do the jobs they say Americans aren’t cut out for.”
Sessions tries to provide the most simple reason for why this isn’t a good idea. “This is not a moral or sustainable economic policy: we cannot continue to have millions of Americans leave the workforce while providing businesses with a constantly-growing supply of workers from abroad to do the jobs instead. We need to help Americans get off of welfare, off of unemployment, and into good paying jobs that can support a family. Our first loyalty must be to US citizens,” he says.
Sessions fears that, if the economic situation isn’t improved, we could face major ramifications.
“Chronic unemployment causes enormous social harm – to schools, to families, to communities. Do we really want a society with a large, growing block of Americans who are permanently out of work? A swift amnesty and a permanent surge in low-skill immigration may make sense for some business interests – but it makes no sense for a nation that is currently struggling with exploding welfare rolls, falling wages and chronic unemployment,” he writes.
And finally Sessions, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, concludes, “Congress must halt this misguided immigration plan and focus on strengthening the economy to better serve the interests of all Americans.”