CNN's Rick Santorum pushes discredited myth linking immigration to wage stagnation

CNN's Rick Santorum pushes discredited myth linking immigration to wage stagnation

Studies have found DACA and immigration helps the economy

Video ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

CNN commentator Rick Santorum falsely suggested a link between immigration and “20 years” of American wage stagnation in order to support President Donald Trump’s consideration of reversing the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows qualifying undocumented immigrants to work and attend school legally in the United States without fear of deportation. During a segment ostensibly focused on DACA, Santorum complained about the total number of immigrants in the United States and demanded that Congress “examine this to see the impact on working men and women in this country whose wages have been depressed for over 20 years.”

According to the Economic Policy Institute, wage stagnation actually dates to the early 1970s and results from tax and regulatory stances that disadvantaged workers. Despite ample research showing how DACA in particular, and immigration in general, actually help the economy, right-wing media personalities like Santorum continue promoting the myth that immigrants compete with American-born workers for jobs.

From the September 3 edition of CNN’s State of the Union:

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CARLOS GUTIERREZ: Let’s just say that you have this argument that [DACA] is not constitutional. But we agree that we need to save these kids, these kids are Americans, they don't know how to speak Spanish, they have American values, they play Little League, they are as American as anyone else. And to kick them out? So, let’s change the law. But, is it a matter of we don't think it's constitutional? Or are there people in this country who feel threatened by immigration, who feel threatened that people who look different than we do are coming in?

[CROSSTALK]

RICK SANTORUM: With all due respect, to suggest that people who want to limit immigration in this country, and we have record levels of legal immigration --

[CROSSTALK]

SANTORUM We have over a million people a year, more than any time in the history of this country. We have the largest percentage of immigrants, almost tied with the historical high as the percentage of immigrants living in this country. We have in absolute numbers by far the most immigrants in this country. To suggest that anyone who wants to have a policy -- we need to examine this to see the impact on working men and women in this country --

GUTIERREZ: Absolutely.

SANTORUM -- whose wages have been depressed for 20 years.

GUTIERREZ: But that’s not immigrants’ fault. You’re blaming it on immigrants because it’s so easy.

SANTORUM: But that is the issue. Excuse me. I’m not blaming it on immigrants. Excuse me, I’m not blaming it on immigrants.

GUTIERREZ: You are.

SANTORUM: But what I am saying is that it is rational for us to have a discussion, and for anyone to suggest that we can't have a discussion, and somehow you’re a bigot when you do so, is offensive to a whole host of Americans. 

Posted In
Economy, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment, Immigration, Immigration Myths, Immigration Reform, Justice & Civil Liberties
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Rick Santorum
Show/Publication
State Of The Union
Stories/Interests
Immigration
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