[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 20 (Thursday, February 5, 2015)]
[Senate]
[Pages S823-S826]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY FUNDING

  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I am disappointed that earlier today 
once

[[Page S824]]

again our Democratic colleagues have--like the palace guard protecting 
the White House--blocked and filibustered moving to the Homeland 
Security bill--a bill that the House has passed and that would fully 
fund every lawful program of Homeland Security.
  The House has passed a bill that funds Homeland Security, they have 
sent it to the Senate, and the Democrats are refusing to let it come to 
the floor to even be debated. They are filibustering a motion to 
proceed to the bill, where amendments can be offered.
  Senator McConnell has said we will have amendments. Senator Collins 
has already reached out with amendments she thinks have bipartisan 
support. That is the way the process in the Senate is supposed to work. 
That is what we should do.
  Amazingly and incredibly, our Democratic colleagues say that the 
Republicans want to shut down Homeland Security and that the Democrats 
are trying to keep that from happening. They claim Republicans have put 
riders on the bill. But I would say that I think, if there is any logic 
left in this body, that the riders were put on Homeland Security 
unilaterally and unlawfully by the President of the United States. He 
put those riders on Homeland Security when--after Congress refused to 
pass his amnesty bill that had in it the right to work for people who 
are illegally in the country--he gave legal status to people illegally 
in the country; he gave them a Social Security card with a photo ID--he 
wants to provide all of them with that and let them participate in 
Social Security and Medicare. That is what the President wants to do. 
All of those things fall outside the law governing Homeland Security 
and all of the items and programs that are involved in that homeland 
security process. This amnesty is outside of it. In fact, amnesty is 
not pro-homeland security, it is anti-homeland security. It is anti-
law. It rewards people who have violated the law. It is going to create 
a mechanism where these people who get these photo IDs will have the 
ability to take any job in America, and nobody is going to check them 
in any effective way. In fact, it is quite clear that the 
Administration doesn't even intend to have personal interviews with 
them because the Administration doesn't have the time or the people. 
But they are spending money out of the lawful part of Homeland Security 
to create an office across the river in Crystal City, and they are 
hiring 1,000 people to process these individuals.
  So Congress simply said: Mr. President, we oppose that. We won't 
approve that process. You said 20 times it is not lawful for you to 
grant amnesty, but you have changed your mind and you are going to do 
it anyway. So we are going to fund all the programs of Homeland 
Security just like last year--with some increase, I suppose--but we are 
not going to fund this office across the river to make people lawful 
who, under the law, are unlawful. That is what the bill is.
  So my Democratic colleagues say that somehow this doesn't fund 
Homeland Security and that Congress has no right to decide what it 
funds and doesn't fund. But it is a fundamental power of the people's 
elected representatives to control the purse strings, to decide what 
gets funded and what does not get funded. Congress can fund programs 
that it doesn't like as a matter of policy or it could defund those 
programs, and it could defund programs it believes are illegal.
  As a matter of fact, I would say Congress has an absolute duty to 
refuse to fund programs set up by the President of the United States 
that he would like to carry out if Congress believes those programs are 
unlawful. So that is where we are.
  It is beyond my comprehension that our friends on the other side--at 
least seven have said in clear statements that they oppose the 
President's Executive amnesty, and they are now voting unanimously to 
not go to the bill and even allow it to be considered.
  Now, one thing is not being considered enough. This amnesty is more 
than prosecutorial discretion. The President of the United States is 
giving work authorizations to more than 4 million people, and for the 
most part they are adults. Almost all of them are adults. Even the so-
called DACA proportion--many of them are in their thirties. So this is 
an adult job legalization program. And we talked about why Congress 
didn't approve and it didn't pass, and why the President shouldn't 
carry out on his own that which Congress has rejected and for which he 
has no lawful basis.
  But let's go further. Let's ask on behalf of the American people, the 
American working people, is this a good idea? Is it a good idea at this 
time of low wages--a time when the percentage of Americans in the 
working population who are actually working and have jobs is at the 
lowest it has been since the 1970s? Is this the right time to advance 
another 5 million people into the job market--a time when we admit 1 
million lawful immigrants to the United States a year? I believe we 
have 700,000 guest workers from abroad working in America on top of 
that, and we're adding another 5 million who can take any job in the 
economy?
  Frankly, the problem, colleagues, is not that we have a shortage of 
workers in America; the problem is we have a shortage of jobs and we 
have the lowest workforce participation that we have had in a long 
time.
  Gallup recently noted that if someone works just a few hours a week, 
they are counted as an employee. People used to work 40 hours--overtime 
maybe--now they work 10 hours a week, and they are counted as an 
employee. If you are an engineer working at a fast food restaurant, you 
are counted as employed. So there are a whole bunch of factors that 
they know are out there that are causing the American people to be very 
concerned about their futures, even though politicians in Washington 
are saying things are so great.
  Wages fell in December--I think the last full month for which we have 
the data--5 cents an hour. So it is not getting much better. That is 
not disputable data. We want wages to go up, not down.
  So I think this is all important, and it is time for Congress to 
understand whom we represent and whom our focus should be on. We want 
to treat people who come to America well. We want to give them every 
lawful benefit when they immigrate to America properly. And people who 
enter unlawfully need to be treated humanely and processed properly, 
and the laws need to be enforced. We don't want to mistreat those 
people.
  But what is it that is critical? What is critical is that we know 
whom we represent. We represent lawful immigrants and citizens of the 
United States of America. Our duty is to them. We should establish an 
immigration policy that serves their interests.
  Years ago a witness before the Judiciary Committee told that 
committee--and I was a member--that, `well, if your policy is to do 
what is best for poor people around the world, it is almost always the 
right thing to let them come to America. If they get in trouble health-
wise, the hospitals will take care of them. Their children get a free 
education. If they get in trouble otherwise, this country helps them.'
  But what we have to decide is what is a good policy for the United 
States of America and how to execute the national interests, not 
special interests.
  Let me point this out. The numbers are stunning, colleagues, and we 
are going to have to learn these numbers. I am going to insist that we 
know what we are doing as we go forward with the ever-expanding 
programs to bring in more workers from abroad.
  One of the more remarkable but least-reported trends in our economy 
is the disproportionate share of jobs being filled by foreign workers. 
Most people do not understand this. The following is new data from the 
Bureau of Labor Statistics--not my opinion; these numbers come straight 
from BLS tables. I challenge my colleagues, if these numbers are wrong, 
tell us they are wrong. It comes right off the BLS table. I don't think 
they are disputable. I don't think anybody is disputing them.

  The total number of persons employed in the United States has 
increased by 1 million since 2007. Frankly, that is not many jobs at 
all over that number of years. It sounds like a lot, but it is not 
many. So we have had a total increase of 1 million jobs since 2007, but 
during this same time the number of jobs for U.S.-born workers--
citizens--declined by 1 million.
  How is that possible? During this same time the number of foreign 
workers with jobs increased by 2 million. So

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that is where the net gain occurred. This means that all net employment 
gains since the recession have gone to workers brought in from abroad.
  How many workers should we be bringing into America? Shouldn't we ask 
how the economy is doing? We are having the slowest recovery since the 
Great Depression 80 years ago. Shouldn't we ask questions about that? 
How many people are on food stamps and welfare and all kinds of aid 
programs? How many people have claimed disability?
  During this same time--get this, colleagues--the population of 
Americans 16 and older increased by 11 million, but one-fifth of a 
million fewer Americans are employed.
  Here is a chart that will reflect some of this data. This reflects 
that natives--people born in the country--accounted for two-thirds of 
the increase in the working-age population. It is a myth we are having 
declining birth rates to the extent we have fewer people coming into 
the working ages. That is not so. Since 2000 we have added increases of 
16.8 million working age people, but all the employment gains went to 
immigrants from 2000 to 2014.
  I was surprised at this. I knew we were having issues with this, and 
people have shared that with me, but I did not realize the numbers were 
this stark.
  Let's look at this. This is the change in the working age on these 
two parts of the chart. We have an increase in immigrants from 2000 to 
2014 by 8.8 million people, while the native population in their 
working ages increased by 16.8 million people--twice the number of 
working age immigrants, basically. But where did the jobs go, the few 
jobs we have been creating as we are recovering from the recession? We 
created 5.7 million jobs since 2000 that went to the immigrant 
population--this 8.8 million--and the native population showed a 
decline of 100,000 jobs. So even though we had a 16.8 million increase 
in that working-age group, we had a decline in native-born workers 
actually working.
  I would say those are stunning numbers, and it calls on us to 
reevaluate our policies. We are not against immigration. I am not 
saying we should end immigration, I am saying it is time for us to 
review our immigration policies, as any sensible, sane nation would do. 
It is time to do that.
  The President's policy goes in exactly the opposite direction. By 
overwhelming polling data, Americans--including Hispanics--agree that 
amnesty has created more of an illegal immigration flow, and yet this 
amnesty rewards 5 million people for what they did illegally.
  Let's look at a little more of the reality of how this plays out in 
the world. Here is a dramatic article in Computerworld about the big 
power company in California--Southern California Edison. What have they 
done recently? Information technology workers at Southern California 
Edison are being laid off and replaced by workers from India. Some 
employees are training their H-1B visa-holding replacements, and many 
have already lost their jobs. The employees are upset and they say they 
can't understand how H-1B guest workers can be used to replace them 
since they are already doing the job now.
  Apparently, Southern California Edison--a power company rooted in the 
United States of America--is converting, laying off, and terminating 
the employment of people who have been with them for a number of years. 
Southern California Edison is transitioning those positions to foreign 
employees who have come in under the H-1B visa program for the sole 
purpose of taking a job. They are not coming under the immigration 
policy where they would move from green card into permanent residence 
and into citizenship. They come solely for a limited period of time to 
take a job, and they work for less pay too often.
  This is what one person said:

       ``They are bringing in people with a couple of years' 
     experience to replace us and then we have to train them,'' 
     said one long-time IT worker. ``It's demoralizing and in a 
     way I kind of felt betrayed by the company.''

  I bet he did. Continuing to quote from the article:

       SCE, Southern California's largest utility--

  Which is a quasi-almost-government entity under the regulatory powers 
of the State--

     has confirmed the layoffs and the hiring of Infosys, based in 
     Bangalore, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Mumbai. 
     They are two of the largest users of H-1B visas.

  Apparently what happens is these companies sign up workers in--in 
this case--India, and they call up the big power company and say: Look, 
we have all these young people who have an education, and your salaries 
are real generous to them, they like your salaries, and we will just 
send them over on H-1B visas. They can stay 3 years and then return to 
their country and you can get rid of all those American workers. Maybe 
you will not have to pay such high retirement or health care benefits.
  The article goes on to say:

       Computerworld interviewed, separately, four affected SCE IT 
     employees. They agreed to talk on the condition that their 
     names not be used. The IT employees at SCE are ``beyond 
     furious,'' said a second IT worker. The H-1B program ``was 
     supposed to be for projects and jobs that American workers 
     could not fill,'' this worker said, ``But we're doing our 
     job. It's not like they are bringing in these guys for new 
     positions that nobody can fill.''

  It goes on to say:

       ``Not one of these jobs being filled by India was a job 
     that an Edison employee wasn't already performing,'' he said.

  It goes on to talk about this. Professor Ron Hira, who studied this 
in great depth and has written about this problem for some time, made 
some comments on it too:

       The SCE outsourcing ``is one more case, in a long line of 
     them, of injustice where American workers are being replaced 
     by H-1B's,'' said Ron Hira, a public policy professor at 
     Howard University, and a researcher on offshore outsourcing. 
     Adding to the injustice, American workers are being forced to 
     do `knowledge transfer,' an ugly euphemism for being forced 
     to train their foreign replacements.''

  He goes on to say:

       ``Americans should be outraged that most of our politicians 
     have sat idly by while outsourcing firms have hijacked the 
     guest worker programs.''

  So the guest worker program is supposed to help businesses. If they 
can't get people to work, then they can apply to this program, which 
has some limits. Yet the President proposes doubling the number of 
people who can come in with H-1B visas to work. He wants to double that 
number. He has been demanding that. But Mr. Hira said:

       The majority of the H-1B program is now being used to 
     replace Americans and to facilitate offshoring of high wage 
     jobs.

  So this is a pretty thorough article in Computerworld, and it is a 
growing problem in the high-tech industry.
  Professor Hal Salzman, who is a sociologist and public policy 
professor at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at 
Rutgers University, wrote about this last September. This is not 
something new. This has been understood for some time. This is what he 
says in U.S. News and World Report:

       All credible research finds the same evidence about the 
     STEM workforce: ample supply, stagnant wages and, by industry 
     accounts, thousands of applicants for any advertised job. The 
     real concern should be about the dim employment prospects for 
     our best STEM graduates.

  Who are STEM graduates? Science, technology, engineering, and 
mathematics. We have been telling our children they can have good jobs. 
Parents have borrowed money, invested in the college savings plans; 
students have borrowed money themselves to get degrees in STEM fields, 
and now we find STEM salaries are flat since 2000--that only 40 percent 
of STEM graduates are actually working in STEM jobs.
  This is what Professor Salzman and five others said in an op-ed in 
USA Today, condemning what we are doing in America today:

       Average wages in the IT industry are the same as those that 
     prevailed when Bill Clinton was President, despite industry 
     cries of a shortage. Overall, U.S. colleges produced twice 
     the number of STEM graduates than annually find jobs in those 
     fields.

  We have to think about how to get our people, our children, our 
constituents into good-paying jobs. I wish there were more of them. I 
wish there weren't enough jobs and we had to import workers, but it is 
not so.
  The Salzman article goes on:

       . . . the growth of STEM shortage claims is driven by heavy 
     industry funding for lobbyists and think tanks. Their goal is 
     government intervention in the market under the guise of 
     solving national economic problems. The highly profitable IT 
     industry, for example, is devoting millions to convince 
     Congress and the White House to provide it with

[[Page S826]]

     more low-cost, foreign guest workers instead of trying to 
     attract and retain employees from an ample domestic labor 
     pool of native and immigrant citizens and permanent 
     residents. Guest workers currently make up two-thirds of all 
     new IT hires, but employers are demanding further increases. 
     If such lobbying efforts succeed, firms will have enough 
     guest workers to last for at least 100 percent of their new 
     hiring and can continue to legally substitute these younger 
     workers for current employees holding down wages for both 
     them and new hires. . . . the Census Bureau reports that only 
     about one in four STEM bachelor's degree holders has a STEM 
     job, and Microsoft plans to downsize by 18,000 workers over 
     the next year.

  Microsoft signed a letter to the President and Congress just a few 
months ago demanding more foreign workers in the same week they 
announced laying off 18,000 workers, and this is a pattern throughout 
the industry. They are lobbying for more and more while they are laying 
off workers.

  Here is a statement our office obtained from a union representative 
at IBM:

       On January 28, 2015, IBM embarked on another of its regular 
     ``resource actions'' or job cuts at sites and divisions 
     around the US. Although IBM won't say how many employees were 
     notified that their employment was being terminated, the 
     [email protected] estimates the number at around 5,000.

  I continue to read from their statement:

       This has been almost a quarterly experience for IBM 
     employees. One of the biggest drivers of the job cuts is off 
     shoring and bringing in guest workers from other countries.

  So they are laying off Americans and bringing in people from abroad.
  The statement goes on to say:

       The terminating of regular IBM U.S. employees while keeping 
     H-1b visa or L1 visa workers on the payroll has been ongoing 
     at IBM for years.
       As one worker stated in an email to the Alliance just this 
     past week:
       ``Received `RA' notice (termination notice) yesterday. . . 
     . I was told last October that I was being replaced by an IBM 
     India Landed Resource. . . . ''

  That is a guest worker.
  Another employee e-mailed:

       ``I would estimate that of the 20 people in my IBM 
     department, at least 80% were immigrants on Visa's working on 
     a so called government contract.''

  They were working on a government contract. They were bringing 
foreign workers.
  And it goes on.
  Here is an article in the Engineering Journal about IBM: ``Massive 
Worldwide Layoff Underway At IBM.''
  Look, I am not saying a company can't lay off and be more efficient. 
The business market changes, and they are just not able to stay in 
business if they are paying people to do work that doesn't exist. I 
understand that.
  What I am saying is that at the same time they are laying off people, 
they are demanding the right to bring in more foreign workers, further 
driving down wages.
  Here is what this article says:

       Project Chrome, a massive layoff that IBM is pretending is 
     not a massive layoff, is under way. First reported by Robert 
     X. Cringely in Forbes, about 26 percent of the company's 
     global workforce is being shown the door. At more than 
     100,000 people, that makes it the largest mass layoff at any 
     U.S. corporation in at least 20 years.

  So these groups have all come together in a lobbying group, Compete 
America, the Alliance for a Competitive Workforce. IBM is one of them. 
I think Hewlett-Packard laid off 12,000 not too long ago; they are part 
of it. Microsoft, laying off 18,000, is part of it--demanding more 
guest workers.
  Cringely wrote that notices have started going out, and most of the 
hundred thousand-plus will likely be gone by the end of February.
  How does it impact us? Does it impact Americans?

       [email protected], the IBM employees' union, says it has so far 
     collected reports of 5,000 jobs eliminated, including 250 in 
     Boulder, Colo., 150 in Columbia, Missouri, and 202 in 
     Dubuque, Iowa. Layoffs in Littleton, Mass., are reportedly 
     ``massive,'' but no specific numbers have been published.

  Here is a story in timesunion.com about Governor Cuomo in New York. 
His program of IT work in New York is being outsourced by IBM.

       . . . IBM has brought hundreds of workers from India to 
     fill jobs in Albany for which--in theory--plenty of Americans 
     are qualified.

  Walt Disney World's information technology department laid off 500 
workers, while Disney's profit margin has gone up and the stock price 
is rising.
  We are going to be talking about this for some time. We need to ask 
ourselves: What is in the interest of American workers at a time when 
we are laying off large numbers of workers--skilled and unskilled? I 
have been talking about skilled.
  Do we really need massive increases in foreign workers? Do we need to 
pass legislation that would double the number of guest workers that 
come into the country at this time? I think not.
  I appreciate the opportunity to share these thoughts. I see my 
colleague.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. I ask unanimous consent to engage in a colloquy with 
Senator Collins not to exceed 20 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

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