U.S. ‘Desperate’ for More Immigrants

Official’s remarks reflect new White House immigration overhaul

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer February 25, 2020
US citizenship ceremony

​Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was recorded at a private event at the Oxford Union in Oxford, England, saying that the U.S. economy needs more immigrant workers to keep growing, according to an audio recording obtained by The Washington 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."

We've rounded up resources and articles from SHRM Online and other trusted outlets on the news.

Seeking to Expand Legal Channels

The Trump administration wants to have more immigrants come to the U.S. in a "legal fashion," Mulvaney said, according to the recording. He praised the points-based immigration systems in Australia and Canada and said the White House wants to embrace a model closer to those nations.

(The Washington Post)

New Plan in the Works

President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has been quietly trying to resurrect discussions to overhaul the U.S. immigration system along a points- or merit-based model. The plan reportedly would boost the number of legal immigrants by increasing visas for high-skilled workers; increasing the number of green cards issued to workers; creating a new immigration czar position; enforcing stricter visa screening; and keeping E-Verify voluntary, a retreat from the president's campaign promise to require all U.S. businesses to use E-Verify to check the work authorization of new hires.


Mandatory E-Verify Dropped

President Trump's fiscal year 2021 budget backs a voluntary version of E-Verify, an indication that the White House is preparing for the release of Kushner's plan, according to experts. Language from the previous two budgets requiring mandatory nationwide use of the system has been discarded.

(The Washington Times)

Trump Advocates for Merit-Based System

The president's first merit-based immigration overhaul, proposed in May 2019, followed the framework in 2017's RAISE Act, a bill that was not enacted. The proposal, which would've made permanent residency available to more foreign national workers, provided opportunities for immigrants who have specific skills or current job offers in the U.S.

(SHRM Online)

Another Solution: State-Sponsored Visas

A new immigration reform proposal before Congress also draws on components of the Australian and Canadian immigration systems and would create a pilot program for states to opt in and sponsor renewable three-year visas based on each state's employment needs.

(SHRM Online)


Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Search Jobs


Take your SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP exam with confidence when you attend an in-person or virtual cert prep program.

Take your SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP exam with confidence when you attend an in-person or virtual cert prep program.



Find the Right Vendor for Your HR Needs

SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies

Search & Connect

HR Daily Newsletter

News, trends and analysis, as well as breaking news alerts, to help HR professionals do their jobs better each business day.