On ABC’s This Week, Sen. Jeff Sessions tried to blatantly lie to the American people by claiming that increase in legal immigration is bad for jobs and the economy.
Video from ABC News:
Transcript via This Week:
KARL: So, let me ask you, Senator Sessions, you have said there are just too many unanswered questions about what this does. You put out a bunch of them. You have got one of the principal architects of this compromise right here. Fire away. What’s your question?
SESSIONS: Well, I would ask Senator Schumer this, if this legislation is established by reputable economists as pulling down the wages of already suffering low-wage American workers, will you continue to push for it?
SCHUMER: The bottom line, that’s not going to happen, Jeff.
SESSIONS: Well, you have to read the statistics. You didn’t have hearings with these top economists who studied this over the years publicly, to determine the impact. And they say it will have that impact, as does the civil rights commission members.
SCHUMER: First of all — let me just answer. First of all, it’s very logical, right now, who’s pulling down wage rates? Illegal people who cross the border and will work because they’re illegal and have no protections for much less than Americans will work for.
Second, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, one of the most conservative true blue economists said this will raise wages and increase GDP. Cato institute, people who you usually agree with, Jeff, say this is going to be a shot in the arm for our economy because we’ll take people in who will create jobs and prevent people who are coming in from lowering wages and taking away American jobs. It’s such a logical approach.
SESSIONS: Well, it’s logical that if you bring in a massive supply of low-wage workers, you’re going to pull the workers down.
SCHUMER: They’re already here, though, aren’t they?
SESSIONS: Well, you’re talking about almost doubling the…
SCHUMER: That’s the point, isn’t it?
SESSIONS: You’re bringing in huge more numbers of legal workers, Chuck. And the ag people that you’ve been listening to are getting what they want, others are getting what they want, but it will impact and…
KARL: Very quickly, and then I have to move on — Senator Schumer…
SCHUMER: Jonathan, the bottom line is very simple, the number of illegal people will greatly decrease and the number of legal people will not equal the number of illegals who cross the border. But they will have to be part — let me just finish. They will have to be part of our society. They will not be able to bring down wages, work for less than minimum wage, be in the shadows, et cetera. So, it’s very good.
Why do you think labor is supporting this proposal, not because it will bring down wages, but because it will be a real opportunity for Americans to gain more jobs.
The conflict within the Republican Party on immigration was fully exposed when Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) made the opposite point on Fox News Sunday, “When with we reform our legal immigration system, we get these people that are already here now paying their taxes and not taking anything out of the system, this will be a net positive for the country economically now and in the future.”
Rubio was making the argument to his fellow Republicans that they can get something for nothing by increasing legal immigration, but both liberal and conservative analysts agree that adding more legal immigrants will be good for the economy.
Sen. Sessions was relying on a paper from the anti-immigrant Center For Immigration Studies (CIS). The right wing group arrived at their conclusion that immigration reform would have a net negative impact by not counting the 11 million immigrants that already illegally in the country.
Republicans like Jeff Sessions are preaching to a vanishing choir. The fact that the senator had no qualms about lying to both a Senate colleague and the entire country speaks volumes about the arrogance of the anti-immigrant right.
Sessions tried to use racism and racial division to halt progress on immigration reform. This tactic may have worked in the past, but the lying Alabama senator is about to learn that he is swimming against a tide that may pull him under.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association