Schumer: Immigration Reform Will Boost Wages for All Americans
Washington (CNSNews.com) - Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference on Thursday that the short-term solution to America’s economic problems is to pass immigration reform.
Enacting immigration reform will substantially improve “wages and working conditions for all Americans,” said Schumer, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship.
Meanwhile, according to the latest Department of Labor statistics, the unemployment rate in April 2011 was 9.0 percent, which translates to about 13.7 million unemployed American workers.
“All you need to know, and tell others, one of the best ways to improve economic opportunities for Americans [and] create jobs is to enact fair and practical immigration reform legislation,” said Schumer.
Reform would include an employment eligibility verification system that checks the validity of Social Security numbers and holds employers responsible.
“If we do this in conjunction with the program that allows people already here to obtain cards so they can work, we would take away the supply of illegal workers,” he said.
“There are unscrupulous employers who’ve exploited this chief source of [illegal] labor to increase profits while depressing wages for American workers,” said Schumer.
Furthermore, the senior senator from New York said the current immigration system is preventing the United States from “keeping the best and brightest minds in America to create jobs in America.”
He said his immigration proposal would allow “the best and brightest minds in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics who study in our schools to stay here after they get their degree.”
“We do this simply by stapling the green cards to their diploma,” he added.
Schumer also said that immigration reform will alleviate the demand for workers in the agriculture industry. “There is a demand for food, prices are high, but they can’t’ get the workers they need,” said Schumer.
“That means America has to import more food from abroad. That means our dollars instead of spending here go overseas,” he added. “Every farm worker job you loose to another country, American loses three or four other jobs.”
Moreover, he said that bringing immigrants to areas that have been hit the hardest by the current economic crisis would revitalize those economies by creating new businesses and therefore jobs.
Schumer said he “remains optimistic” that the current Congress will pass immigration reform, adding that he is committed to working with Republicans to come up with a bi-partisan bill.
According to Schumer, the solution to the immigration problem in the United States is to “secure the border, hold the employers accountable, fix the legal immigration system to help our economy, and require those here illegally to earn legal status or face deportation.”
He added that those here illegally should also be offered a path to citizenship.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has shown no interest in passing immigration reform. A small version of that reform, which would have legalized young immigrants who go to college or joined the military, was defeated in the Democrat-controlled Senate last December.
The 2011 National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference today was sponsored by Esperanza (“hope”), one of the largest faith-based Evangelical networks in America.