Sen. Jeff Sessions, a top GOP advocate for a reform aimed at lowering immigration and helping ordinary Americans, says a majority of Americans will back the GOP’s candidates if the party promises to reduce the annual inflow of guest workers and immigrants that have helped cut wages for more than 30 years.
The inflow now adds roughly one short-term foreign worker and one immigrant to the labor supply for every four Americans who turn 18.
If President Barack Obama’s proposed immigration rewrite becomes law, the government will add roughly one guest worker or immigrant for every single American who turns 18 in the next decade.
If the supply of labor increases faster than the stalled economy, workers get less pay, Democrats get more dependents, and Wall Street snags higher profits. Even President Barack Obama’s economic adviser and the Congressional Budget Office agree on that economic reality.
So Sessions is trying to leap over the Democrats’ strategy of dividing Americans into competing wedges, including whites, African-Americans and Latinos. He’s trying to rally them all under a traditional American ideal — the revived opportunity for a middle-class life for every American who works hard.
Sessions laid out his vision in a recent interview with The Daily Caller.
TheDC: Can a high-wage, low labor-supply strategy work for the GOP legislators?
Sessions: Americans overall, and especially middle-class Americans, have been pleading with their political leaders to end the lawlessness in immigration, to create a policy that serves the national interest, and to protect them from excess labor flow that pulls down their wages and may cost them their jobs. … Congress, because of an unhealthy attachment to corporate America and political maneuvering, has refused to give it to them.
That’s a good and honorable request by the American people. … [It is] a policy that honestly benefits all blue-collar workers, and most of them fully support it [and] it would be a direct and powerful appeal to recent immigrants and to African-American blue-collar workers.
[President Ronald] Reagan did very well among lower-income voters. They were called Reagan Democrats and blue-collar Republicans. Let’s look at the last big [GOP] national victory in 2004 where [President George W. Bush lost] the $30,000 to $50,000 income American worker … by one percent only.
Gov. [Mitt] Romney lost it well in the double digits. He also lost the under-$30,000 vote considerably more than President Bush.
That’s the message we should take into the next election: ‘Our policies will work for you, their policies are hurting you, and if you doubt what I say, look at your take-home pay.’
TheDC: Has the excess supply of labor hurt average Americans?
Sessions: Median income has dropped $2,300 per household since 2009. That’s huge for a family struggling to get by. That’s $200 less per month for their families — this is unacceptable and cannot continue, and it is clear that a significant part of that is a result of an excessive flow of labor into America during this time of high unemployment.
TheDC: Will your critique of an excessive labor supply be seen as anti-Latino or anti-Asian?
Sessions: We are not opposed to immigrants or immigration. … We need to say an excess of immigration is pulling down wages for you and your children, and we need to emphasize that we support people of all racial and ethnic groups. We need to show our love and compassion for voters by fighting for them. We are passionately committed to reversing policies that are hammering the futures of immigrants, of people of color, and we’re not going to allow it to continue if given the opportunity to lead this country.
We need to be more sensitive to the feeling of people who may interpret calls for ending lawlessness as an attack on them personally. I think we can do that more effectively, and all of us need to work in that regard.
We need to help the American people see the distinction between guest workers and those who emigrate to America.
[The annual inflow of 700,000] guest workers are not in line to be citizens. They’re not asking to be citizens. They’re simply here to take jobs that some people claim Americans won’t do. I do think it is legitimate to say we oppose doubling the guest-worker program, which hurts recent immigrants as well as the native-born.