— CSPAN (@cspan) August 2, 2017
During Wednesday’s White House press briefing, senior policy advisor Stephen Miller stood at the podium to take questions about new legislation President Trump is supporting that aims to cut legal immigration to the country by 50%. Naturally, Miller was quickly involved in a heated back-and-forth with New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush over the bill’s intention to give preference to green card-seekers with higher skill levels in order to save American workers’ jobs.
Thrush opened by saying there have been many studies that show there is no correlation between low-skilled immigrants and the loss of U.S. workers’ jobs and asked for Miller to cite specific research that showed the opposite, since that is what the bill is based on. Miller cited a study about the 1980 Mariel Boatlift in which Cubans were allowed to leave from Havana and did so en masse. Miller then said, without cited a specific source, that as much as $300 billion is lost by immigrants drawing more in federal benefits than they are putting in.
Not convinced, Thrush reiterated and asked for specific statistics, Miller responded by, uh, asking Thrush how he’d like an immigrant taking his reporting job:
“Maybe we’ll make a carve out in the bill that says the New York Times can hire all the low-skilled, less-paid workers they want from other countries and see how you feel then about low-wage substitution. This is a reality that’s happening in our country. Maybe it’s time we had compassion, Glenn, for American workers. President Trump has met with American workers who’ve been replaced by foreign workers. Ask them how this has affected their lives.”
Miller then says there is no shortage of low-paying jobs, so there’s no need to bring in more so-called low-skilled immigrants, saying that nearly 25 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 are not employed and blamed the desire for more immigrants on greedy companies trying to keep wages stagnant. Miller then said it was the duty of the government to protect U.S. workers and that it was common sense to move high-skilled immigrants from “the back of the line.”