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Actually, we may need more immigrants. Ask Team Trump

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Remember how President Donald Trump said this country could not absorb any more immigrants, legal or illegal?

"Our country is full," he declared during a visit to the border, among other occasions, a year ago. "Can't take you anymore ... so turn around."

That was then. Imagine my surprise when The Washington Post reported last week that Trump's acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had described our country at a private gathering in England as being quite the opposite of "full."

Instead of having too many newcomers, Mulvaney told the crowd that we have too few, according to an audio recording of his remarks obtained by the Post.

"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."

Oh? That's certainly not what we've been hearing since Trump announced his candidacy five years ago. That's when he infamously accused Mexico of "sending people" who are "bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people."

 

As president he has spent the past three years hardening this country's immigration system into an obstacle course of physical and bureaucratic barriers. Most recently he added Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Tanzania and Africa's biggest country, Nigeria, to the travel ban.

What's going on? I wondered, is this another Mulvaney gaffe?

After all, Mulvaney has gained a reputation in his rapid rise to his current job for giving new life to journalist Michael Kinsley's often-quoted definition of a Washington gaffe as "when a politician tells the truth -- some obvious truth he isn't supposed to say."

Mulvaney had unspooled a series of job-threatening stumbles late last year. He unintentionally added fuel to the Ukraine scandal's quid pro quo allegations when he tried to dismiss the U.S. withholding of aid under similarly coercive conditions as something that's done "all the time."

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(c) 2020 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

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