President Donald Trump's executive order to temporarily halt the issuance of green cards aims to "turn off the faucet" of new immigrant labor and is the beginning of a broader strategy to reduce the flow of foreigners into the US, the architect of Trump's immigration agenda Stephen Miller has said.
President Trump signed the executive order on Wednesday to suspend certain types of immigration into the US for 60 days to protect the jobs of Americans laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged the country's economy.
According to a report in The Washington Post, Miller spoke to a group of Trump surrogates on Thursday in an off-the-record call about the new executive order and told them that the president's new executive order curbing immigration will usher in the broader long-term changes to immigration into America.
Miller told the group that subsequent measures were under consideration that would restrict guest worker programmes, but the executive order turns the faucet off of new immigrant labour coming into the country.
"The first and most important thing is to turn off the faucet of new immigrant labor mission accomplished with signing that executive order," he said, according to a recording obtained by the leading American daily.
The report said that Miller indicated that the strategy was part of a long-term vision and not seen only as a stopgap.
"As a numerical proposition, when you suspend the entry of a new immigrant from abroad, you're also reducing immigration further because the chains of follow-on migration that are disrupted," said Miller, one of the executive order's main authors.
"So the benefit to American workers compounds with time," he said.
The report also said that the Trump administration had been trying for years to scrap the family-based US immigration model, which Miller has called "chain migration" that enables US citizens and the Green Card holders to bring in parents, adult children and siblings into the US. Last year, the State Department issued about 460,000 immigrant visas, and more than half were in the categories the order halts.
Instead, the White House favours a more restrictive system based on job skills and US labour market demands.
"Miller has been the leading proponent of the argument that immigrants compete for jobs with US workers and depress their wages. The argument is anathema to many economists and pro-business Republicans who argue that immigration fuels long-term US growth and keeps US industries competitive," the report said.
Immigration was one of the main promises Trump made to his supporters while running for the US President.
Ken Cuccinelli, who serves as acting deputy homeland security secretary and joined Miller on the call, said Trump had been considering an immigration freeze long before his tweet Monday night announcing his plans to "temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!"
"This is something the president has been looking at himself since the economic effects of the COVID-19 virus began. We've had numerous conversations with him. And so what you saw yesterday was a continuation of his own thinking," said Cuccinelli, who spoke less than Miller during the 23-minute call.
The report added that Miller was involved in crafting and selling the executive order, working quietly without many others in the administration knowing. Senior White House officials said the memo had not been vetted by lawyers or top officials before the president tweeted that he would be signing it.
"All around the country, Americans of every political stripe will rally behind an initiative to make sure that they, their children, their parents, their husbands, wives, sons, uncles, nephews, cousins can be the first to get a job when it opens up, to get her old job back when they rehire or to keep their job if they already have one.
"Those individuals have a right and an expectation to get their jobs back and not to be replaced by foreign workers. That's the action the president took, it is historic. It is vital, it is necessary, it is patriotic and it deserves the full-throated support of everybody on this call," ," Miller said during the call.