WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) today addressed the Senate floor to expose a component of the Gang of Eight Bill that establishes a penalty for hiring citizens and legal immigrants over immigrants granted Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status under this legislation. He asked for unanimous consent to introduce an amendment that would fix this issue by defunding Obamacare until there are no more individuals with RPI status. But the Senate Democrat majority blocked his request.
“I filed an amendment that would have corrected one of the most egregious aspects of the gang of eight bill as it intersects with Obamacare legislation, namely a penalty imposed on U.S. employers for hiring U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. This bill says if an employer hires a citizen or a legal immigrant, the IRS can impose a $5,000 penalty on that employer. But if the employer instead hires someone with RPI status, that penalty will go away. That is utterly and completely indefensible,” Sen. Cruz said.
“Nobody in this body wants to see African-American unemployment go up. Nobody wants to see Hispanic unemployment go up, youth unemployment go up, union household unemployment go up, legal immigrant unemployment go up. Yet every one of those will happen if this Gang of Eight bill passes without fixing this problem. If that happens, all 100 members of the U.S. Senate will be accountable to our constituents for explaining why we voted to put a federal penalty on hiring U.S. citizens and hiring legal immigrants. I hope this body will choose to pass my amendment and fix this grave defect in the Gang of Eight legislation.”
View video of the Senator's remarks here.
In his remarks, Sen. Cruz offered a hypothetical example of how this would impact American employers, citing a business that employs 100 workers. If the current bill passes, the business owner will have an incentive to hire illegal immigrants, rather than citizens of legal residents. For instance, if the owner planned to hire five new workers, hiring RPIs instead of citizens or legal immigrants could save his business $25,000 per year.
Additionally, the Senator noted that authors and proponents of the bill recognized this was an issue, supported efforts to fix it, but failed to do so.