Santorum: Hillary’s Support for Amnesty Hurts American Workers

Republican presidential candidate former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s support for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants contradicts her message of supporting average American workers.

“From 2000-2014, there were 5.7 million net new jobs created for workers aged 16-65 and all of the net new jobs went to immigrants in spite of the fact that there were 17 million more native Americans in the workforce,” Santorum said at the National Press Club in Washington.

“Democrats like Hillary Clinton say that they are for the American worker yet they demand amnesty and huge increases in the number of immigrants for one overriding reason – votes, which of course leads to political power,” he added.

Santorum, who also ran for president in 2012, said Democrats have “no interest” in fixing the nation’s broken immigration system.

“The president had a filibuster-proof majority in both the House and Senate in the first two years in office and didn’t even bother to introduce an immigration bill even though he had plenty of time to push Obamacare,” Santorum said.

“To the president and Mrs. Clinton, immigration is only about dividing America by injected ethnic and racial politics into this debate – not doing right by struggling workers. Immigration is just another example of how Mrs. Clinton abandoned the millions of Americans who want the opportunity to work and to provide for themselves and their families by using divisive identity politics to gain more power,” he added.

Santorum said the federal government’s immigration policies should not create roadblocks for struggling American workers, whose wages remain stagnant.

“Amnesty will perpetuate the problem, not solve the problem. Whether it was a path to citizenship in the gang of 8 bill or the right to a permanent work permit supported by Ted Cruz and others, in any event it’s amnesty,” he said. “Amnesty will make competition more fierce, not less, encourage more illegal immigration, not less, and further depress wages.”

Drawing a contrast with Democrats, Santorum described his strict position on illegal immigration as pro-worker.

“Over the past 20 years, nearly 35 million legal and illegal immigrants have come to our shores. This is the largest mass immigration America has seen in our history, even surpassing the great wave of the turn of the 20th century,” he said. “These immigrants are largely unskilled and low-skilled labor and they are competing for the same job that 74 percent of Americans who do not have a college degree are looking for.”

Santorum pledged to end the Obama administration’s “catch and release program” and deploy more personnel on the border to maximize apprehensions.

“While I won’t demand the government of Mexico build a wall – I want U.S. workers to do that, by the way – I’ll make it clear to the Mexican government they must stop facilitating the lawlessness on the border and cooperate with our efforts,” he said, referring to Trump’s plan to make Mexico pay for a wall.

Santorum’s plan would strip any city of federal funding that refuses to cooperate with federal immigration law. He also vowed to stop releasing illegal immigrants with criminal records into U.S. communities after their native countries refuse to accept them.

“I’ll exercise my authority already in law to deny visas to any foreign country that will not take responsibility for their citizens until they take their people back. The federal government has to end policies that have encouraged millions of people to break the law,” he said, pointing out that the Obama administration has released 30,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records.

The former senator said GOP presidential candidate Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) and front-runner Donald Trump have joined him in proposing immigration reform ideas that would put American workers first.

“I welcome them both and encourage all candidates, all Americans, to listen to this vision of how we can make America stronger,” he said.