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Congressman Mo Brooks

Representing the 5th District of Alabama

Brooks: Washington Should Work For American Workers, Not Against Them

January 7, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. –  A dismal report released this week by the nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies confirms the wage suppression of low-skilled labor, an effect made worse by the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress in December which quadruples available work visas for low-skilled, temporary non-agricultural foreign workers who seek to take job opportunities from American citizens.  This legislation, coupled with President Obama’s proposed rule to illegally bust statutory green card immigration caps, is a brazen display of contempt for struggling American workers who seek jobs that pay enough to support their families. 

Today, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05), who voted against the omnibus bill, called on Washington to stop helping foreign workers take scarce jobs from struggling American families.

 
Video of Congressman Brooks’ remarks is available HERE.
 
Mo Brooks Floor Speech on Visas & Work Permits
January 07, 2016
U.S. House Floor

Mr. Speaker, Washington has once again undermined and betrayed struggling American workers who seek jobs that pay enough to support their families.

In December, on less than 72 hours’ notice, Congress and President Obama shoved down the throats of Americans a two thousand page, financially irresponsible, $1.1 trillion Omnibus spending bill that not only risks America’s solvency, it also threatens American jobs for American workers. 

Under old law, 66,000 H-2B foreign worker visas could be issued each year.[i]  Buried deep inside the 2,000-page Omnibus spending bill, on page 701, is an obscure provision without even a heading, that, according to labor expert John Miano, increases available H-2B visas up to 264,000 per year,[ii] effectively quadrupling visas for low-skilled, temporary non-agricultural foreign workers.

Making matters worse, on New Year’s Eve, while America focused on football bowl games and celebrations, President Obama issued a 200-page proposed rule[iii] to illegally bust statutory green card immigration caps[iv] by approving unlimited numbers of work permits for foreigners who don’t have green cards. 

This White House action is yet another brazen display of contempt for immigration statutes, the rule of law, and American workers.  The White House argues importing foreign labor is necessary because of a claimed shortage of American labor. 

Similarly, House Speaker Paul Ryan claims increasing foreign worker visas [quote] “help[s] small businesses who cannot find labor when there’s a surge in demand for their labor like seafood processing, or tourism.” [end quote][v]  This claimed labor shortage is unsupported by jobs or wage data and is political bunk!        

Per federal labor statistics, 57 percent of Americans without a high school diploma had NO job in 2015’s second quarter.[vi]  That bears repeating.  57 percent of Americans without a high school diploma had NO job in 2015’s second quarter.  That’s a lot of Americans who would love to have those jobs President Obama and Congress denied Americans and gave to foreigners.

Economics 101 explains that wages rise if there is a labor shortage and fall if there is a labor surplus.  According to Census Bureau data from 2007 to 2014,[vii] wages for security guards went DOWN 6.1%.  For cooks: DOWN 4.4%!  For janitors:  DOWN 1.2%!  For ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers: DOWN 7.1%!  For hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks:  DOWN 7%!  The list of falling wages for low income American workers goes on and on.

This falling wage data is compelling evidence that there is no shortage of American labor and, to the contrary, that there is an oversupply of American labor that demands cutting foreign labor, not expanding it!

Mr. Speaker, while these surges in foreign worker visas and foreign labor work permits is a huge victory for special interests that profit from suppressed wages, it is a debilitating loss for struggling American families. 

Unemployed and underpaid Americans desperate for a good-paying job have every right to be angry at a federal government that takes American jobs from American citizens and gives them to foreigners.  Americans have every right to be angry at Washington elected officials who care more about special interest campaign contributions than American voters who elected us. 

I hope these Americans will remember their anger during 2016’s primary and general elections.  That is the way to force Washington to represent us!

Mr. Speaker, I can’t speak for anyone else but, as for me, Mo Brooks, from Alabama’s 5th Congressional District, I fight for the economic interests of American citizens and against policies that undermine the struggling American voters who sent us here.

That’s part of the reason why I voted against December’s financially irresponsible Omnibus spending bill . . . and am proud of it!

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[i] “Currently, Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 - March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 - September 30). Any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year will be available for employers seeking to hire H-2B workers during the second half of the fiscal year. However, unused H-2B numbers from one fiscal year do not carry over into the next.”  United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants, https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/cap-count-h-2b-nonimmigrants.

[ii] Center for Immigration Studies, John Miano, “The American Public Keeps Getting ‘Sold Out’,” Dec. 21, 2015, https://www.cis.org/miano/american-public-keeps-getting-sold-out.

[iii] Federal Register, “Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers,” Proposed Rule by the Homeland Security Department, Dec. 31, 2015, https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/12/31/2015-32666/retention-of-eb-1-eb-2-and-eb-3-immigrant-workers-and-program-improvements-affecting-high-skilled.

[iv] News Release, Sen. Jeff Sessions, “Chairman Sessions Issues Statement on New Obama Executive Action to Shred Immigration Caps,” Jan. 4, 2016, https://www.sessions.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2016/1/chairman-sessions-issues-statement-on-new-obama-executive-action-to-shred-immigration-caps.

[v] Breitbart.com, Julia Hahn, “Paul Ryan’s Christmas Warning: American Companies Will Shut Down Without More Foreign Workers,” https://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/12/23/paul-ryans-christmas-warning-american-companies-will-shut-without-foreign-workers/.

[vi] Center for Immigration Studies, The Employment Situation of Immigrants and Natives in the Second Quarter of 2015, Oct. 2015, Table 2, https://cis.org/Employment-Situation-Immigrants-Natives-Second-Quarter-2015.

[vii] Center for Immigration Studies, “No Evidence of Labor Shortage in H-2B Occupations,” https://www.cis.org/a/no-evidence-labor-shortage-h-2b-occupations.