AP NEWS

In Florence speech, Rice says US economy improving

February 24, 2018 GMT

FLORENCE, S.C. – U.S. Rep. Tom Rice said Friday that the economy is improving and today’s college students will have better opportunities when they graduate than his three adult children did.

Rice spoke at a political science class at Francis Marion University on Friday morning.

“My favorite nickname for America is ‘the land of opportunity,’ and they didn’t have the opportunity that I had, and I wanted to make sure that wasn’t going to continue. I was going to change that,” Rice said.

Rice said he set out to make the country competitive when he ran for U.S. Congress.

While some of the counties Rice represents are some of the poorest in the state, he said, jobs are increasing. Rice said he lobbied successfully for the Dillon inland port that could bring thousands of jobs to that area.

“We are taking a piece of the Charleston port, and we’re putting it in Dillon, South Carolina,” Rice said. “We did it in Greer five years ago – 3,000 jobs in five years. If we get 3,000 jobs in Dillon, South Carolina, the population of Dillon will not be able to serve it. It will have to be fed from Marion, and Marlboro, and Florence and probably areas in North Carolina.”

Rice said the U.S.’s current immigration system makes it less competitive. He said most countries allow legal immigrants with desirable skill sets and educational backgrounds to come to the front of the line.

“We have the most liberal legal immigration system,” Rice said.

He said the U.S. has 1.1 million legal immigrants per year with 12 percent entering based on skill set and 65 percent on chain migration.

“We take in more legal immigrants than the next three or four countries combined,” Rice said.

He said legal immigrants often come to the U.S. with low skill sets and low education.

“Fifty-three percent of our legal immigrants end up on welfare, food stamps,” Rice said. “Do you think that makes us more competitive or less competitive?”