President Trump on Tuesday suggested, again, increasing legal immigration levels beyond an already historically high rate that would pit more foreign competition against American workers and further depress U.S. wages.
During a meeting at the White House, Trump said he wanted “more people” coming to the U.S. than the already more than 1.2 million legal immigrants admitted every year to take American jobs that would otherwise go to citizens.
Speaking of jobs, we have to have more people coming into our country because our real number is about 3.6, 3.7. It took a little blip up during the shutdown and went up to 4. And 4 — any country would take a 4. But we’re about 3.7; probably going lower. We need people. So we want to have people come into our country, but we want to have them come in through a merit system, and we want to have them come in legally. And that’s going to be happening. We’re doing very well in that regard.
Trump has repeatedly claimed over the last month that there are not enough American workers for all the jobs his administration has helped create across the country. The “labor shortage” talking point is often used by the big business lobby, outsourcing firms, and Silicon Valley elites who prefer importing low-wage foreign workers to take U.S. jobs rather than recruiting disenfranchised Americans.
The sentiment for increasing legal immigration is a break from the president’s commitment to reduce overall immigration levels — a promise he made in 2015, 2016, and 2017.