I wrote this week about Republicans’ disappointing lack of action on immigration in response to the Chinese coronavirus outbreak. Thankfully, one prominent Republican is now calling for a temporary halt to immigration.
Alabama Senate candidate Jeff Sessions called for a temporary immigration moratorium Thursday morning. His plan would halt all employment-based immigration until the U.S. unemployment rate falls below 3.5 percent. That was the unemployment rate in February before the coronavirus struck America.
More than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment since mid-March. That's 12% of American labor force going without a paycheck!— Jeff Sessions (@jeffsessions) April 16, 2020
That's why I'm calling on the federal gov to IMMEDIATELY halt immigration to the US until Americans are back to work. https://t.co/IKAQNNyLhx pic.twitter.com/pg5kQgtK1x
“American families and workers must come first. It is morally wrong and economically disastrous to import more foreign workers when millions of Americans are out of work through no fault of their own,” Sessions said in his press statement.
“Under my plan, we will put Americans back to work before we bring in more foreign labor. Visitors who do not have the virus can still come to the United States, and foreign investment in our businesses and economy will continue to be welcomed, but employment immigration will cease until our national unemployment rate is back below 3.5 percent, as it was in February before this pandemic. Rare exceptions will be granted only in critical, time-sensitive industries like farming, and only if the employer proves they tried to hire Americans first.”
This is a strong move that should help Sessions move the needle against his weaselly primary opponent, Tommy Tuberville. Tuberville doesn’t want to punish China; Sessions does. [Tuberville on China, coronavirus: ‘We’ve got to worry about Alabama and this country’ right now, by Henry Thornton, Yellowhammer News, April 4, 2020] Tuberville doesn’t want to do anything about legal immigration; Sessions does. Tuberville doesn’t see the problem in importing cheap foreign labor to replace American workers; Sessions does.
The choice is clear for Alabamians: they can pick a rock-solid immigration patriot, or they can go with an establishment toady.
Sessions proposal is exactly what America needs. A sitting lawmaker should propose it in Congress when Capitol Hill reopens in May.