Sessions: Senate immigration bill will 'hurt struggling US workers'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to bring the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act to the floor next month.

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A bipartisan group of eight senators, known as the Gang of Eight, introduced S. 744, which would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, toughen border security, create a guest worker program and boost high-skilled immigration. The Senate Judiciary Committee completed work on the bill, which passed out of committee with a bipartisan vote, last week.

Sessions, who serves on the Judiciary Committee, has complained that the bill would provide amnesty for illegal residents before strengthening border enforcement and harm U.S. workers already affected by high unemployment rates. 

“In exchange for a path to citizenship demanded by interest groups on the left, the bill irresponsibly surges the number of nonimmigrant low-skill and high-skill guest workers and permanent future immigration, including nonmerit-based chain migration, at a time when a record number of Americans have exited the labor force,” Sessions said.

His latest criticism of the bill came after the union representing professional and technical engineers announced opposition to the bill, which increases the number of H-1B visas for workers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.

“Congress should listen to the warning from the engineers’ union about the Gang of Eight immigration bill,” Sessions said. “The union notes that ‘It is not appropriate or fair for politicians to trade the jobs of American workers — in this case STEM workers — in exchange for a path to citizenship’ — which is essentially the deal that has been struck not only for tech companies, but for the entire business lobby.”

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) comprise the Gang of Eight.

Senate floor work on the immigration bill is expected to start the week of June 10.

“Whether the interests of the American people are answered in the coming days — or ignored — will be an important test of our Democracy.”

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