Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday during an Arizona campaign stop that the U.S. needs “an awful lot more immigrants rather than less” and promised to increase legal immigration as president.
“We need immigrants to take all the different kinds of jobs that the country needs — improve our culture, our cuisine, our religion, our dialogue and certainly improve our economy,” the former New York City mayor told an audience at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Phoenix.
The billionaire businessman slammed President Trump’s “reckless and unethical actions,” including the now-shuttered “zero tolerance” hardline immigration policy on illegal entry at the southern border, which resulted in the separation of migrant children from their parents.
“Ripping kids away from their parents is a disgrace,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg also addressed renewed criticism of the stop-and-frisk law enforcement policy he pushed as mayor of New York, which affected mainly minority civilians, including the city’s Latino population.
“How many times do you hear elected officials say, ‘I made a mistake’?” Bloomberg said. “None of us do everything perfectly. I’m sorry it happened. I can’t rewrite history. Let’s get on with it.”
Since his late jump into the crowded Democratic presidential primary last week, Bloomberg has focused on Arizona and said Democrats have a chance to turn the state blue if they nominate someone who makes the state a “top priority.” His campaign also plans to skip the first four primary states in order focus his considerable resources on contests that he will have a more realistic chance of winning given his late entry into the race.
More than 850,000 migrants were apprehended crossing the southern border illegally in fiscal year 2019. A record-shattering 420,000 were part of family units fleeing violence in Central American countries.
Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said last month that border crossings have declined 43 percent since arrests peaked in May, when more than 132,000 migrants were caught crossing illegally.