July 18, 2014 – 10:23 AM
(CNSNews.com) — When asked whether legalizing illegal immigrants would help unemployed Americans, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D.-Md.) responded by pointing to testimony from the director of the Congressional Budget Office that Van Hollen said indicated enactment of the Senate immigration bill (which gave illegal aliens a “path to citizenship’) would “reduce the deficit and increase long-term economic growth.”
CNSNews.com asked: “Do you think that allowing illegal aliens to stay in the United States and putting them on a path to citizenship will help unemployed Americans?”
Van Hollen responded: “I think what we need to do is pass comprehensive immigration reform, and I just came from a hearing with the non-partisan director of the Congressional Budget Office, who testified that if you passed the Senate bipartisan bill, you will reduce the deficit and increase long-term economic growth in the United States,” Van Hollen replied.
CNSNews.com asked Van Hollen the question at the “Witness Wednesdays: Voices of the Unemployed” event on Capitol Hill. The same question was also put to Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), who objected that the question implied “that we want to encourage illegal immigration.”
Kildee responded: “I think we need to have an immigration policy that is welcoming and open. If we’re talking about specifically the children who are fleeing their countries because of the risk that they’re facing, I think it’s a false dichotomy. I think we can be a welcoming nation and also support the people who live here and are struggling.”
When CNSNews.com repeated the question, Kildee replied: “Which illegal aliens are you speaking of? The question implies that we want to encourage illegal immigration, and we should not do that. But what we should have is immigration policy that fits the needs of the current, of the 21st century.”
“So I don’t believe that the question before Congress is whether or not we should allow illegal aliens here, but whether we should deal with the fact that there are 11 million people in this country that are undocumented, and that they are here and should have a pathway to legitimacy,” he told CNSNews.com.
“They’ve been contributing to the economy, and I think it’s a false choice to say that in order to take care of the people who are unemployed, we can no longer be a nation that is welcoming to immigration.”
Kildee is cosponsoring a bill that would extend unemployment benefits. “Since this vital lifeline lapsed, millions of families have struggled to put food on the table, keep a roof over their head and pay their bills,” he said in a statement.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of June, there are 9.5 million unemployed Americans.