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Congressman gives mixed reviews on immigration statement

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Congressman John Hostettler (IN-08) was pleased with the President's calls for greater enforcement of America's immigration laws and stronger border security measures in Tuesday's State of the Union speech. Hostettler is looking forward to the tangible evidence of that commitment when the President releases his proposed budget for FY 2007 next week, he said in a prepared statement. But the congressman, who chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims, does take issue with President Bush's endorsement of a guest worker program, citing the loss of American jobs.

"I disagree with the President's call for a guest worker program," Hostettler said. "This type of program would be disastrous for American workers. American wages are already depressed and American workers have already been displaced in large numbers as a result of the six million illegal aliens presently working in the United States.

"The President's program would add insult to injury by matching any willing worker with any willing employer. Remember, that means that American workers have to compete with foreign born workers that will accept wages far below the minimum wage here in the United States. If employers are able to choose from any number of foreign workers who expect to receive a lower salary than an American or a legal immigrant, Americans will always lose out.

"96 percent of the world's population makes a lower average wage that the everyday American, so 96 percent of the world's workers could be vying for American jobs.

"And this would be true not only in agriculture, hospitality, and construction industries -- this would lead to displacement of doctors, nurses, engineers, and other professionals.

"Additionally, it is -- at best -- naive to suggest that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Bureau (USCIS) would be able to conduct a comprehensive registration of millions of illegal aliens residing in the United States when USCIS currently has a massive backlog that they cannot currently handle.

"Finally, a guest worker program violates the basic concepts of the rule of law and fairness in our society as it puts the interest of foreign, illegal workers above those of our own American citizens."

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