Sessions Slams Obama’s Latest Immigration Executive Action as ‘Brazen, Illegal’

Rule would allow thousands of foreign workers to flood U.S. job market

Jeff Sessions / AP

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) on Monday slammed President Obama’s latest executive action on immigration that would authorize hundreds of thousands of additional foreign workers to replace American workers at a lower pay.

Sessions, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, called the proposed federal rule published on New Year’s Eve "brazen" and "illegal," accusing Obama of further pushing prosperity out of the reach of American families.

"The president’s nearly 200-page rule bypasses federal immigration caps, increasing significantly the number of foreign nationals authorized to work in the country above the limits set by Congress.  These lower-paid foreign workers will be able to take jobs in technology firms, neighborhood pharmacies, energy companies, local schools, public administration, civil engineering, and innumerable other professions both sought and filled by millions of Americans," Sessions said in a statement.

"Whether young American graduates seeking that first job, or longtime workers seeking that well-earned promotion, countless Americans will now find their chosen careers in jeopardy."

Sessions said that the new rule would allow the Obama administration to bypass caps put on the number of immigrants who can obtain green cards through sponsorship from their employers.

"First, it would simply approve as many aliens as it wishes to seek green cards in excess of the cap.  Then, it would give those workers–and their spouses and children–a renewable all-purpose work permit while they wait for their green cards to become available, nullifying Americans’ statutory protections against job-threatening flows of excess foreign labor."

The Republican lawmaker further stated that the proposed rule would automatically renew work permits held by aliens who apply to have their deportations canceled or seek asylum. He said that the executive action appears "designed to create chaos and disorder."

"This lawless action comes at a time when immigration is already at an all-time high.  The total foreign-born population is at record-breaking 42.4 million, having more than quadrupled since immigration caps were raised five decades ago.  Excess labor supply has already helped drive down today’s median household income more than $4,000 beneath levels at the turn of the century," Sessions stated.

The GOP senator also cited data from the Pew Research Center showing that Americans want immigration caps to be reduced rather than increased. He accused Congress of helping Obama expand the country’s acceptance of foreign workers by passing the so-called omnibus appropriations legislation in December.

"When it returns to session, Congress will have to decide: will it take meaningful action to block the president’s new incursion, or will it continue making only empty gestures of opposition while acquiescing to the president’s agenda?" Sessions asked. "Voters want immigration growth halted.  The more the governing class ignores these demands the more they lose their authority to govern."