Mulvaney says US 'desperate' for legal immigrants to boost economy: report

Mulvaney says US 'desperate' for legal immigrants to boost economy: report
© Greg Nash

Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump to nominate Russell Vought as budget chief Warren, Brown press consumer bureau on auto lending oversight Bottom line MORE told a private audience Wednesday that the U.S. needs more immigrants to keep the economy growing, according to an audio recording of his remarks obtained by The Washington Post.

“We are desperate — desperate — for more people,” Mulvaney said at the gathering in England. “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's comments on immigration were revealed after a separate speech in England, also first reported by the Post, where he called out Republicans for ignoring budget deficits under President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump orders US troops back to active duty for coronavirus response Trump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Fighting a virus with the wrong tools MORE.

"My party is very interested in deficits when there is a Democrat in the White House. The worst thing in the whole world is deficits when Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCivil rights leader Joseph Lowery dies at 98 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - House to pass relief bill; Trump moves to get US back to work Obama thanks Fauci, Stephen Curry during Instagram Live session MORE was the president. Then Donald Trump became president, and we’re a lot less interested as a party," Mulvaney said at the Oxford Union.

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Mulvaney's comments on immigration appear to put him at odds with other administration officials, such as White House adviser Stephen MillerStephen MillerCNN's Acosta: Trump referring to coronavirus as 'foreign virus' in Oval Office address 'smacked of xenophobia' Watchdog group sues over information on Stephen Miller's involvement in 'public charge' rule Trumps tour Taj Mahal to cap off first day in India MORE, who have taken steps to cut both legal and illegal immigration.

But according to the Post's review of the recording, which was not made publicly available, Mulvaney highlighted the points-based immigration systems of countries like Canada and Australia, which Trump has praised in the past.

Several studies have warned that the U.S. economy will require more immigrant labor to keep expanding, as many American workers drop out of the labor market due to age, automation and other factors.

A paper released in August by the Migration Policy Institute said that increased immigration would likely be an overall benefit to the economy in a changing labor market, but "it can negatively affect some low-skilled workers, who have already been hard hit by technological change, globalization, and weakening labor unions."