Sen. Jeff Sessions: President's State of the Union address off track on immigration and the economy

By Leada Gore
on January 29, 2014 at 11:47 AM, updated January 29, 2014 at 12:03 PM

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions

Sen. Jeff Sessions said proposals in President Barack Obama's Tuesday night State of the Union address fall short of helping America deal with pressing issues such as immigration, unemployment and the economy.

The Alabama Republican, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, offered his harshest criticism for the president's push for comprehensive immigration reform. In Tuesday night's address, Obama said immigration reform would "grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades."

Sessions said that's not true.

"President Obama says he is concerned about low wages and chronic unemployment for American workers. Yet his signature second-term legislative item is an immigration bill that would immediately and permanently double the flow of new immigrant workers competing against unemployed Americans--reducing wages, increasing unemployment, and further shrinking the middle class," he said. "Experts tell us that the current, very high immigration flow is already a factor in declining wages."

Sessions was also critical of the president's other initiatives.

"(The president's) other policy proposals - more government spending, public assistance, and wage controls - are a continued attempt to deal with the symptoms of an economy that is failing and stagnant, rather than with the causes.

"This agenda will not only do little for those it is designed to assist in the short run, but will actually do harm to many in the long run."

Sessions said America has a record one in five households on food stamps and 92 million Americans outside the work force, adding "a focused national effort is needed to move citizens off welfare and unemployment and into good-paying jobs.

"This must be done without adding to the debt. Such an effort would include more American energy; better trade and immigration enforcement; welfare and tax reform; a leaner, more productive government; the elimination of regulations that destroy jobs; and the growth and confidence created by balancing the federal budget," he said.