Freshman House Republicans on Tuesday used a floor debate on immigration as an opportunity to go after President Barack Obama's jobs plans and his immigration record.
Addressing immigration concerns, the GOp first-termers stated that state and local governments should not be deterred from enforcing immigration laws.
Republican Mo Brooks of Alabama made the argument that allowing state and local enforcement would benefit unemployed workers.
He stated, "There is a sure fire way to create jobs now for American citizens: evict all illegal aliens for America and immediately open up millions of jobs for unemployed Americans."
Brooks' "jobs plan" sharply contrasts President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs plan, which makes no mention of immigration. Instead, the White House issued a directive to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice in August to reprioritize deportation cases to keep low-priority "out of the deportation pipeline."
The directive frustrated conservatives because it will hinder the efforts of officials in states such as Arizona, Georgia and Alabama, where state legislatures have passed tough immigration laws in hope of relieving the burden of growing illegal immigrant populations. Some of these states –Arizona and Alabama-have also been sued by the Obama administration to keep local law enforcement officials from enforcing federal immigration law.
However immigration reform groups, such The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), say it is impossible to discuss job creation without discussing America's broken immigration system.
Eric Ruark, FAIR's director of research, wrote in a Tuesday commentary, "Politicians are talking incessantly about job creation but what the American people are not hearing is a discussion of the critical connection between economic and immigration policies."
Brooks tried to make that connection in his remarks, citing Pew Hispanic Center statistics stating that 7.8 million illegal immigrants hold jobs in America. He also said that Illegal immigration is overwhelming local law enforcement and depressing state resources.
"Illegal aliens crowd our hospital emergency rooms, delaying treatment for Americans and driving up health care costs, because too many illegal aliens don't pay their bills," Brooks said.
Deporting illegal immigrants will not only free up jobs said Brooks, but increase benefits for low income, blue-collar workers.
"The eviction of illegal aliens from American has a side benefit of eliminating the abundance of cheap illegal alien labor, which, in turn, forces blue-collar wages up, thus helping American families afford and pursue the American dream," he said.
The Annenberg Public Policy Center's FactCheck.Org says arguments that suggest that immigrants, both legal and illegal, take American jobs are not true.
"The truth is that immigrants don't 'take American jobs,' according to most economists and others who have studied the issue," the group stated.
Fact Check cited Madeleine Sumpton, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, who said, "The impact of immigration [on a nation's economy] remains small for several reasons. Immigrants are not competitive in many types of jobs, and hence are not direct substitutes for natives."
Additionally she said, "Local employers increase demand for low-skilled labor in areas that low-skilled immigrants inflows. Immigrants contribute to demand for goods and services that they consume, in turn increasing the demand for labor."
However in a May 2011 FAIR report entitled, "Immigration Poverty and Low-Wage Earners," Ruark defended, "Studies that find minimal or no negative effects on native workers from low-skill immigration are based upon flawed assumptions and skewed economic models, not upon observations of actual labor market conditions."
Brooks made his Tuesday remarks in favor of his Jobs for Americans Act, H.R. 2670, which would allow local law enforcement officials to help enforce immigration law. Fellow freshman Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) also voiced her support for a similar bill, H.R. 100, of the CLEAR Act.