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  1. #1

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    Jeff Sessions Wednesday comments

    This is from yesterday; his amendment was introduced and voted on today.

    ######

    Madam President, I want to share some general thoughts about workers in America, the salaries they get paid, the money they take home, and some of the problems relative to that. I will not be offering any amendments at this point. I think there are some others who will be down in a little bit who are scheduled to be on the floor at this time but have not arrived.

    I will note I would like to have a vote on an amendment I have offered, which is an amendment that will say that if an employer hires a person illegally in the country, contrary to the law, the fine will no longer be as little as $250 but will be raised to a fine sufficient to deter that business from carrying on that activity: $5,000 and up.

    But I want to take a moment now to share some thoughts of a very serious nature about what we are dealing with. This bill that is on the floor today would raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour. I am uneasy with Government dictating a contract between two private persons. But I have supported minimum wage increases on a number of occasions, and I think we will see one pass this time in some fashion. I hope it will be passed in a manner that I will be able to support final passage.

    But I share the concern of a lot of people who support this legislation; and that concern is, the incomes and the salaries of lower wage workers have not kept up with the salaries of higher income workers. I know the free marketeers argue that later on wages will increase for low-income workers, but I am not satisfied with that argument. The economy is doing very well. Bonuses and salaries for top-wage people have surged. We have not seen sufficient increases in salaries for lower income workers.

    I am going to share some numbers with this body that I believe will put a finger on the real problem. It is not that George Bush does not want people to have salaries. George Bush and Members of this Senate have supported policies that, without their knowledge, perhaps, are having an adverse impact on wages. Maybe there are a lot of reasons we are having an adverse impact on wages, but I am going to talk about one.

    We can be certain that illegal immigration is suppressing workers' wages. Significant economic evidence indicates the presence of large amounts of illegal labor in low-skilled job sectors--that is low-income workers--is depressing the wages of American workers. Harvard economists George Borjas and Lawrence Katz--Professor Borjas has written a fabulous book on immigration, ``Heaven's Door.'' I am sure my friend Senator Kennedy knows of Harvard. He needs to introduce himself to Professor Borjas, I would suggest. Harvard economists George Borjas and Lawrence Katz estimate that the influx of low-skilled, low-wage immigration from 1980 to 2000 has resulted in a 3-percent decrease in wages for the average American worker--not just low-income workers. The average American worker has seen a 3-percent decline in his wages, and it has cut wages for native-born high school dropouts--those are the people most often being paid near minimum wage; the poorest 10 percent of the workforce--by 8 percent.

    That is a lot. The 3 percent amounts to, assuming they made $10 an hour, $12 a week or $600 a year. For the poorer worker, the 8 percent amounts to more than $1,200 a year in income. Now, that is $100 a month extra money they could be paid, but they are not being paid because of the large influx of illegal workers or immigrant workers into the country.

    According to Alan Tonelson, another expert, a research fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council Educational Foundation--this is his quote--


    ...[T]he most important statistics available show conclusively that, far from easing shortages, illegal immigrants are adding to labor gluts in America. Specifically, wages in sectors highly dependent on illegals, when adjusted for inflation, are either stagnant or have actually fallen.


    Wages have gone down, not even gone up a little bit. They have gone down. Think about it.

    Tonelson is referring to Labor Department data and information from the Pew Hispanic Center that--Mr. Tonelson says--``provide compelling evidence illegal immigrants have been used deliberately to force down wages.''

    For example, he cites data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the following information.

    Madam President, I see Senator Salazar is here. And, as I indicated, I say to Senator Salazar, I will yield. I will wrap up briefly and yield to you because I know you were previously approved to speak next.

    As I was saying, for example, Tonelson cites data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the following information: Inflation-adjusted wages for the broad food and services and drinking establishments category--that is the Labor Department category--between the years 2000 and 2005 fell 1.65 percent. Pew estimates that illegal immigrants comprise 17 percent of food preparation workers, 20 percent of cooks, and 23 percent of dishwashers.

    So they say: Well, you cannot get people to work and be cooks and dishwashers in restaurants. You cannot get them. Well, if they were paid a little better wage, maybe they could get them. Instead of cutting wages from 2000 to 2005, maybe some people would be willing to work.

    He goes on to note: Inflation-adjusted wages for the food manufacturing industry--the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that illegal immigrants comprise 14 percent of that workforce--fell 2.24 percent from 2000 to 2005.

    He also goes on to note: Inflation-adjusted wages for hotel workers--the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that illegal immigrants make up 10 percent of that workforce--fell 1 percent from 2000 to 2005.

    So, Madam President, I will wrap up at this point but will talk about it some more later. We need to create a lawful immigration system that does allow workers to come to our country, but the number and skill sets they bring ought to be such that they do not aversely impact to a significant degree the wages of American citizens. How more basic can it be than that, see? I am afraid we need to confront that.

    So my amendment is just one important step I will ask for a vote on that will allow workers to come legally, but if they come illegally, the employers who hire them can be punished to a degree more commensurate with the seriousness of the offense.
    THE POOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT IN MY AVATAR CROSSED OVER THE WRONG BORDER FENCE!!!

  2. #2
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    So, Madam President, I will wrap up at this point but will talk about it some more later. We need to create a lawful immigration system that does allow workers to come to our country, but the number and skill sets they bring ought to be such that they do not aversely impact to a significant degree the wages of American citizens. How more basic can it be than that, see? I am afraid we need to confront that.
    It can't be more basic than that. Sessions is brilliant.

  3. #3
    Senior Member IndianaJones's Avatar
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    Thanks Jeff Sessions!
    We are NOT a nation of immigrants!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rockfish's Avatar
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    Hunter/Sessions in '08
    Hey, it doesn't really matter to me, baby, everyone has got to fight to be free. You don't have to live like a refugee!--Tom Petty

  5. #5
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    So my amendment is just one important step I will ask for a vote on that will allow workers to come legally, but if they come illegally, the employers who hire them can be punished to a degree more commensurate with the seriousness of the offense.
    Thank you once again senator Sessions !
    "If my family wasn’t safe, what makes you think yours will be?"
    -Danielle Bologna (whose husband and sons were murdered by felon, gang member, illegal alien, Salvadoran Edwin Ramos)

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