White House adviser Stephen Miller got into several heated exchanges with reporters during a press briefing Wednesday, following legislation unveiled by President Donald Trump just hours earlier that sought to slash legal immigration to the United States by half.
New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush attempted to ask Miller several times to provide statistics on the amount of low-skilled jobs American citizens might have were it not for low-skilled immigrants filling those jobs.
But Miller interrupted him mid-question.
“Glenn, 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 is happening in our country,” he said.
He continued: “Maybe it’s time that we had compassion, Glenn, for American workers. President Trump has met with American workers who have been replaced by foreign workers. Ask them how this is affecting their lives.”
Miller is one of the architects of the bill announced Wednesday, which was introduced by Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia. The bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, as it has already been widely panned not only by Democrats and immigration advocates, but also by Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
The bill, named the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, proposes to restrict or eliminate certain immigration programs that allot green cards to low-skilled immigrants. Those programs include family-based migration, the refugee program, and the “diversity visa,” which is awarded annually to 50,000 immigrants from countries with low immigration rates to the US.
Instead of those immigration pathways, the US would prioritise immigrants who speak English, can financially support themselves, and have demonstrated skills that could benefit the economy, Trump said Wednesday. The result, he added, would “reduce poverty, increase wages, and save taxpayers billions and billions.”
But immigration proponents have criticised the bill for doing little to increase skilled immigration, and say it merely shrinks the pool of available green cards.
Watch Miller and Thrush’s exchange below:
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 2, 2017