Jeff Sessions, April 16, 2020
On the heels of news that more than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment since mid-March, Jeff Sessions is calling for a moratorium on employment-based immigration until the U.S. unemployment rate goes back down below 3.5%, where it was in February.
Sessions released this statement on Thursday morning:
“American families and workers must come first. It is morally wrong and economically disastrous to import more foreign workers when millions of Americans are out of work through no fault of their own.
“Before the pandemic, our economy was booming with record low unemployment and wage growth. President Trump’s leadership has proved vital to restoring American economic strength. But the Chinese government’s dangerous and deceitful behavior has enabled the Wuhan Virus to explode worldwide and savage our health and our economy.
“Tens of millions of Americans are out of work and hundreds of thousands of small businesses teeter on the brink of bankruptcy. Americans need to go back to work to rebuild our economy. But it should be American, not foreign, workers taking those jobs, providing for their families, and restoring our economic strength.
“That is why I am calling on the federal government to immediately halt immigration to the United States until Americans are back to work.
“More than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment since mid-March. That’s more than 12 percent of the American labor force going without a paycheck. In February, our unemployment rate was just 3.5 percent—less than one-third of what it is today.
“In Alabama, more than 200,000 workers have claimed unemployment in the past few weeks. This number is continuing to grow.
“Under my plan, we will put Americans back to work before we bring in more foreign labor. Visitors who do not have the virus can still come to the United States, and foreign investment in our businesses and economy will continue to be welcomed, but employment immigration will cease until our national unemployment rate is back below 3.5 percent, as it was in February before this pandemic. Rare exceptions will be granted only in critical, time-sensitive industries like farming, and only if the employer proves they tried to hire Americans first.
“There are powerful reasons for such a policy. First, the self-worth of every American is lifted by a job. They feel better about themselves, their families, and their future. But when a worker from abroad arrives and takes one of the few jobs available, the American does not disappear but is then pushed on to government assistance: the new government relief program, unemployment compensation, Medicaid, housing benefits, food stamps, and other programs, all adding to our debt.
“It is insanity for this nation to invite foreigners to come in and take any of the few jobs available during this crisis.
“For decades, open-borders advocates and certain business interests have undercut American workers by importing large flows of low-wage foreign labor. This keeps American wages low, especially in unskilled or low-skilled positions, but also in higher skilled positions. From factory workers and hourly employees to tech workers and college graduates with student debt, all types of Americans have their wages reduced by excessive foreign labor.
“The United States issues more than 1.4 million ‘temporary’ visas to foreign workers per year, and that’s not even counting new green cards (permanent residents), refugees, illegal aliens, or those who illegally overstayed their visas from previous years.
“President Trump has kept his promise to reduce illegal immigration into the United States, and he needs more support as he continues his progress.
“Under President Trump’s policies, our economy has been booming, unemployment reached record lows, and real wages were rising for the middle class for the first time in decades.
“This pandemic has hit our economy hard, but the fundamentals of the Trump economy are strong and will allow us to rebound stronger than ever before. My plan ensures that we get back on track, instead of bringing in foreign workers to undercut struggling American families.
“China’s actions caused the Wuhan Virus to spread into a global pandemic, far beyond what would have occurred if the Chinese communist government had acted quickly and not covered it up. We will hold them accountable, but we also must get the American economy moving again.
“American policies should put American workers first. We know that China’s policies put China’s economy first. We know that every other country in the world also puts their own economy first, as they should. Here in the United States, President Trump has restored common sense and done the same thing.
“Now is the time to suspend employment immigration so that we can make sure that jobs are available to the millions of Americans who have been displaced by this pandemic.
“We don’t need the big government monstrosities that the Democrats and the Establishment want to put in place during this crisis—we need to get Americans back to work.”