A Labor Day with Too Little to Celebrate
Immigration Bill Clouds An Already Bleak Labor Market
While the nation remained fixated on everything Syria, the annual Labor Day weekend came and went with little reflection on the true meaning of the holiday.
Labor Day used to bring a celebration of the working middle class and the industrial labor movement. Today, the labor movement is a shadow of its former self and represents more public employees then factory workers. For working Americans, this year’s Labor Day was a day of mourning and sad reflection on the long gone days of opportunity and prosperity.
The President and Vice President had no public schedule. There were no rousing speeches to boisterous supporters on the traditional last weekend of summer. The White House website featured only a tepid Labor Day message filled with tired platitudes.
One United States Senator – Jeff Sessions of Alabama – took the occasion to remind Americans that White House-backed immigration reform will only make a bad labor market worse for millions of American workers.
Sessions posed the key question in a Labor Day statement: “What is the message from the White House, certain business interests, and their allies in Congress? Bring in more workers from overseas to do the jobs they say Americans aren’t cut out for.”
Sessions decried this approach as a bad idea that is not a moral or sustainable economic policy
“We cannot continue to have millions of Americans leave the workforce while providing businesses with a constantly-growing supply of workers from abroad to do the jobs instead,” Session said. “We need to help Americans get out off of welfare, off of unemployment, and into good paying jobs that can support a family. Our first loyalty must be to U.S. citizens.”
Session said the nation needs an emphasis on the country’s 7.4 unemployment rate.
“Chronic unemployment causes enormous social harm – to schools, to families, to communities. Do we really want a society with a large, growing block of Americans who are permanently out of work?
“A swift amnesty and a permanent surge in low skill immigration may make sense for some business interests – but it makes no sense for a nation that is currently struggling with exploding welfare rolls, falling wages, and chronic unemployment.”
The adverse effect of immigration on unemployment was revealed in stark detail in June by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). In a widely publicized report, CIS said that the Gang of Eight immigration bill would admit nearly 1.6 million more temporary workers than currently allowed in the first year alone.
After that initial spike, CIS said, the bill would increase annual temporary worker admissions by more than 600,000 each year over the current level – an increase four times larger than the one called for in the 2007 immigration proposal.
When it was released, Sessions called the CIS analysis a bombshell.
“This large increased in guest workers guarantees that Americans’ wages will remain stagnant, and that the unemployed will remain unemployed,” Session said. “This legislation surges the number of low-wage workers at the expense of the poor and middle class.”
Sessions is just as concerned this Labor Day as he was in June, commenting that Congress must halt this “misguided immigration plan” and focus on strengthening the economy to better serve the interests of all Americans. Hopefully, Congress is listening. There is still time to put American workers first.
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.