White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller had a heated exchange with a New York Times reporter at Wednesday’s press briefing when debating the topic of the RAISE Act, a merit-based immigration reform program.
Miller, one of the president’s closest advisers on immigration, said U.S. workers have been harmed by a flawed immigration system. He said U.S. laws are being abused as companies seek cheap foreign labor for low-skill jobs.
The New York Times reporter, Glenn Thrush, asked for “one or two studies with specific numbers” that support the claim that American workers lose jobs to immigrant workers.
Miller went on to name several studies.
“As much as $300-billion dollars a year may be lost as a result of our current immigration system in terms of folks drawing more benefits that they’re paying in,” Miller said. When he suggested using some “common sense,” Thrush interrupted.
“I’m not asking for common sense,” Thrush responded. “I’m asking for specific statistical data.”
“I think it’s pretty clear, Glenn, that you’re not asking for common sense,” Miller retorted.
“Common sense is fungible, statistics are not,” retorted Thrush.
Miller said he’d already named studies and Thrush responded, “I asked you for a statistic,” despite the fact that he’d previously asked for studies.
“How about we make a carve-out in the bill that says The New York Times can hire all the low-skilled, less-pay workers they want from other countries, and see how you feel then about low-wage substitution,” Miller challenged.
Miller suggested Thrush consider how the current law affects Americans, but Thrush pushed for more statistics to back up Miller’s claims. Miller continued to state statistics that support reform, saying businesses want low-skilled workers simply to keep wages low.
“At some point, we’re accountable for reality,” Miller said.
Miller also clashed with CNN’s Jim Acosta during the briefing. They disagreed about whether speaking English changes what it means to be an immigrant coming to the country.
Miller said speaking English is already a part of immigration law, but Acosta said the limitation of speaking English meant only immigrants from Great Britain and Australia could come to America.
Miller was offended, saying he was shocked that Acosta believed only people from those countries knew English and called Acosta’s statement insulting.
“It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree. That you think only people from Great Britain and Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hard-working immigrants who do speak English from all over the world.”
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