Transcript: Sen. Jeff Sessions speaks at the 2016 Republican National Convention

Published: Jul. 18, 2016 at 11:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2016 at 1:02 AM CDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WBRC) - The following is a transcript of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions' speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention:

Thank you good friends. Speaking from this podium today is a long way from the rafter seats my wife and I had as college students in Miami in 1972.

Our voters spoke clearly on two critical issues in our primaries: trade and immigration. They affirmed Donald Trump and his positions.

They oppose Obamatrade. They demand a lawful system of immigration that protects their safety and their financial well-being.

Average Americans have been the first to know something is wrong with this economy.

Our middle class is steadily declining, with our African American and Hispanic communities being hurt the most. But, the Washington establishment, the media, and big corporations have been in denial.

Fellow Republicans, we must understand that the incomes of middle class Americans today are $4,186 per year less than in 1999.

This is an economic disaster. We are on the wrong track and the people know it.

Yet, Hillary Clinton's plan is more of the same: more government, more taxes, more regulation, more immigration, and more debt.

She has been a champion of globalist trade agreements. But the facts are in. They have not worked for our people. When those agreements were signed, Presidents Clinton and Obama promised our dangerous trade deficits with China and Korea would be reduced.  But, the deficit with China has increased five-fold and the deficit with Korea doubled. These are job-killing numbers. Worst of all, they are now pushing the disastrous 5,554-page Obamatrade – the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

This election has also been about immigration. For 30 years, our good people have rightly pleaded for an end to the lawlessness, and for sound immigration policies that are fair and advance the national interest.

To this legitimate plea, our elites have responded with disdain, dismissal, and scorn.

But is there anyone in America that does not understand that when we bring in more workers than we have jobs for that job prospects and wages will fall? Top economists and the Congressional Budget Office have told us that. Is it too much to ask that we slow down and protect our national security and jobs

Let's consider the facts. We lawfully admit 1.1 million permanent residents annually, more than any other country. In addition, we have 700,000 foreign guest workers taking jobs.

The majority of these are not seasonal or agricultural. There are about 350,000 people who succeed in crossing our borders illegally each year, and almost 500,000 more unlawfully overstay their visas. These are extreme numbers. But the only solution from Obama and Hillary Clinton is to capitulate to the lawlessness and give amnesty and citizenship to all.

Understand this. From 2000 to 2014, while our existing population increased by millions, the number of jobs held by Americans actually declined.

Amazingly, all the net job growth during that period went to immigrants. Combine that with the reality of efficient businesses, robots, and slow growth.

The fact is, we don't have enough jobs for the people who are here. Doesn't this help to explain why our wages have fallen and why we have the lowest percentage of Americans actually holding a job in 40 years? Our duty as elected officials is to get our people jobs first.

It cannot be our policy to have workers from abroad take jobs while we provide support payments for unemployed Americans.

Bad trade deals close factories, and end high paying jobs. Excess immigration floods the labor market reducing jobs and wages.

Improper vetting places our nation at risk of terrorism. Remember, the President has the clear power to "suspend" immigration to protect America.

Americans want help now. This election will make it happen.

That is why we need Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is the leader that will bring change.

He has the strength, courage, and will to get it done. He is attracting more and more Independents and Democrats to our movement.

Donald Trump will kill Obamatrade.

Donald Trump will build the wall.