The Corner

White House

The Trump Administration, Still Split on Immigration

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he departs for travel to N.C. from Washington, D.C., February 7, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey report for the Washington Post that White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told a group in England that we need more immigration.

“We are desperate — desperate — for more people,” Mulvaney said. “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.”

It is pretty clear that more immigrants would increase the size of the economy. It is much less clear that it would do much to raise living standards for people who are already here.

The Post‘s reporters say that Mulvaney’s comments were “in line with conventional GOP views” while “[h]ardline immigration restrictionists want fewer new arrivals.” Gallup has long asked whether immigration levels should increase, decrease, or continue as at present. There has been a large shift toward more immigration in recent years, but the latest numbers are 27, 35, and 37, respectively.

If we are thinking of the public at large, then, “hardline” doesn’t seem like a good description of those who want fewer new arrivals; and if we assume, plausibly, that the decrease group includes a disproportionate number of Republican voters, what’s “conventional” among them may not be what has been conventional among Republican politicians.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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