White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was caught on tape saying that the U.S. is “desperate” for more immigrants. Mulvaney, whose comments are a contradiction of President Donald Trump’s policies and stated position, told a crowd at a private event that the country needs more legal immigrants in order to continue to grow economically.
“We are desperate — desperate — for more people,” Mulvaney said, according to The Washington Post. “We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we’ve had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants.”
Mulvaney was careful to say that any immigrants should be entering the U.S. legally, but as the recently unearthed tape reveals, immigrants are an important part of Mulvaney’s view for a strong economy.
The White House leader’s comments are in stark contrast to White House policy and narrative. Trump has repeatedly said that immigration is a burden for the U.S., and his administration has worked to enforce policies that will reduce immigration, both legal and illegal.
For instance, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller has worked to push policies that would reduce immigration or even close the border to immigrants altogether. Steve Bannon, the former White House adviser, said that immigrants negatively impact the economy. The administration recently enacted a policy that would allow officials to deny entry to pregnant women seeking to immigrate to the U.S.
Trump’s administration has said that immigrants take the jobs of U.S. workers and depress wages.
“Our country is full,” Trump said during a recent visit to the border. “Can’t take you anymore, so turn around.”
In contrast, Mulvaney told the audience in Oxford Union that while Trump espouses an anti-immigrant stance, the country needs more immigrants in order to expand.
He told the audience that the White House was “very interested in expanding” a Canadian or Australian-type of immigration process.
Other Republicans have expressed a similar view, despite the president’s rhetoric. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser, said that highly skilled immigrants should be prioritized over those seeking asylum or to reunite with families.
Miller has relied on arguments from Mark Krikorian, the director of the Center for Immigration Studies, who says that while the economy grows when more immigrants come into the country, it doesn’t improve the lives of people living in the U.S.
“A tight labor market is the best social policy,” he argued. “We’re seeing an uptick in wages for less-skilled workers, as well as incentives for employers to recruit ex-cons, disabled people, in general workers they would not consider if the job market were looser.”