Politics

Sessions: ‘Gang of 8’ would give legal status to 57 million, including non-immigrant visas

An analysis of future immigration flow released Friday by Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions shows that more than 32 million immigrants would receive legal status over the next decade and an additional 25 million would be granted non-immigrant work visas under the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill.

On a conference call with reporters about the analysis Sessions explained that number of legal immigrants over the next decade “exceeds the population of California, our largest state, and will have a very significant impact on our economy and the American people.”

According to the analysis presented by the senator, the high immigration estimate derived from visa program proposals in a revised 867-page bill crafted by a bipartisan group of eight senators shows that the bill would vastly increase the level of future “low-skill” immigration.

“[O]ver the first decade, the total number [of legal status] granted will be well over 32 million (not taking into account chain migration from increased legal flow),” the analysis reads. “Adding in all the various categories of nonimmigrant work visas, the number climbs to more than 57 million.”

The 57 million estimate includes the 11.1 million illegal immigrants already in the country, who would receive legal status under the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill.

On the increase of new workers, Sessions did not mince words.

“This large flow of workers will impact working Americans significantly. It will reduce their salaries; dynamic scoring will not change that,” Sessions said, addressing one of the criticisms leveled against past immigration analyses.

“We have a time in this country when there is a growing failure of working Americans wages to keep up with inflation. That has been going on for more than a decade, some say 15, 30 years. And a large flow of low-skilled workers does impact the wages of Americans,” Sessions added.

Sessions noted that while the bill attempts to deal with the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country by offering them legal status, the problem of illegal immigration will not end as he believes the border and visa enforcement aspect is not strong enough.

“We think this is a matter of humanitarian interest and even civil rights and the obligation we have as American policy makers in Congress is to consider what is in the long term national interest of America, at a time when we have 90 million people outside the work force, 47 million on food stamps. Shouldn’t we be working to make sure every single American citizen now dependent on the social services of the government be provided the first opportunity to achieve a good job with decent pay with a retirement plan and a healthcare plan?” Sessions asked.

“That has got to be our goal and that is not being properly discussed in this whole entire process,” he added.

Proponents of the immigration reform legislation, however, have argued that immigration will help the economy.

When asked about Sessions’ analysis, Gang of Eight member Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s spokesman pointed The Daily Caller to a “Myth vs. Fact” series the senator’s office has been dispatching to attempt to dispel negative findings about the bill.

“Under our proposal, those living here illegally will be allowed to apply for permanent residence in 10 years once we clear out the current backlog for about 5 million foreigners waiting to legally immigrate to the United States – a long-delayed process this legislation will finally correct. This legislation does not significantly increase long-term, annual migration to the United States, and will dramatically decrease illegal immigration thanks to new border security and immigration enforcement laws. Bottom-line: the size of the future population of the United States will not be significantly impacted by this legislation,” the fact sheet about the increase of foreign workers resulting from the legislation read.

Another “Myth vs. Fact” sheet added that the problems American workers face is not immigration but the “Obama economy” and “a skills gap.”

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