The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Sessions slams Obama’s closed-door meetings on immigration

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Sen. Jeff Sessions is slamming President Barack Obama’s closed-door meetings with lobbyists pushing greater immigration, including the business interests that profit from low-wage labor by skilled and unskilled immigrants.

“Obama is meeting privately with the most powerful men in finance and business to discuss how to bring in more low-wage labor at a time when millions of Americans can’t earn enough to pay their bills,” Sessions said in a statement to The Daily Caller.

“Republicans should seize this issue as a crucial moment in history to stand up for the working people of this county, and to defend them against elite Washington interests,” he said.

“This is an issue that ought to make natural allies out of the GOP, union workers and even the unions themselves … [it] also an important moment for a number of Democrats who were elected on the promise of defending workers: will they side the economic interests of the workers in their states or will they side with the powerful interests meeting at the White House?”

Sessions, an Alabama GOP Senator and the ranking chairman of the Senate’s budget committee, is trying to rally public opposition to the proposed immigration rewrite.

He’s backed by a series of immigration reform groups, such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which also highlight businesses’ push for more immigration of skilled workers.

“Unemployment is at its highest level [and] there are many out-of-work Americans who want and need the jobs now being held by illegal aliens,” according to FAIR, which is now running TV-ads against business-backed proposals to award visas to skilled workers, such as accountants and academics.

The issue has yet to get much media coverage, but in January 2012, Obama was confronted by the wife of a Texas-based American high tech engineer who could not get a job amid competition from foreign tech workers carrying short-term H-1B visas.

When faced with the woman’s argument during the online chat hosted by Google, Obama seemed surprised that American tech experts faced competition from short-term immigrants.

For many years, business groups have pushed to increase the number of H-1B visas by arguing they cannot find information-technology experts to fill jobs.

In response, advocates for American engineers say many older tech experts are sidelined by lower-priced H-1B visa-holders. Salaries for IT experts have risen only slowly, belying claims of a shortage, they say.

However, more and more companies are using H-1B visa to bring in temporary skilled workers for jobs outside the information-technology sector.