WH’s Stephen Miller Slams NYT’s Glenn Thrush; ‘You're Not Asking for Common Sense’

Prior to his epic thrashing of CNN’s Jim Acosta on Wednesday, White House policy adviser Stephen Miller threw down with self-described liberal hack New York Times correspondent Glenn Thrush over the administration’s new immigration proposals through the proposed RAISE Act. 

The spat began when Thrush snidely told Miller that he wanted “some statistics” seeing as how ones he had seen “don't show a correlation between low skilled immigration and the loss of jobs for native workers.” Thrush added that he’s heard infrastructure was pushed off the table in favor of this immigration push. 

Miller was not pleased, but nonetheless, he persisted by citing studies:

Well, the latter statement isn't true. I think the most recent study I will point to is the study from George Borjas that he just did about the Mariel boat lift and he went back and re-examined and opened up the old data and talked about how it actually did reduce wages for workers who were living there at the time and Borjas, of course, has done enormous amounts of research on this, as has the — Peter Kirsanow on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission as has Steve Camerota at the Center for Immigration Studies and so on and so forth.

He added that some “common sense” should be used and wondered rhetorically “why do special interests want to bring in more low skilled workers?”

When Thrush hit back that he’s “not asking for common sense” but data, Miller fired back that “it’s pretty clear, Glenn, that you’re not asking for common sense.”

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Miller had more ammunition in reserve when he suggested that The New York Times be subjected to being filled with “less-skilled, low-paid workers from other countries” so people like Thrush could “see how” they “feel then” about the issue:

THRUSH: How many — how many — common sense is wonderful. Statistics are not. Could you —

MILLER: I named — I named the studies, Glenn. 

THRUSH: Just let me finish the question. Tell me the — tell me the —

MILLER: Glenn, I named the studies. I named the studies. 

THRUSH: I asked you for a statistic. Can you tell me how many —

MILLER: Glenn, maybe we'll make a carve out in the bill that says The New York Times can hire all the less skilled, low paid workers from other countries and see how you feel then about low wage substitution. This is a reality that’s happening in our country — 

THRUSH: I’m not talking about The New York Times.

MILLER: Maybe it's time we had compassion, Glenn, for American workers. President Trump has met with American workers who have been replaced by foreign workers. 

Thrush continued filibustering Miller before he gave a lengthy answer before moving onto April Ryan:

First of all, if you look at the premise, Glenn, of bringing in low-skilled labor, it's based on the idea that there's a labor shortage for lower skilled jobs. There isn't. The number of people living in the United States in the working ages who aren't working today is at a record high. One in four Americans or almost one in four Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 aren't even employed.....The reality is that if you just common sense, and yes, I will use common sense. The reason why some companies want to bring in more unskilled labor is because they know that it drives down wages and reduces labor costs. Our question is as a government is, to whom is our duty. Our duty is to U.S. citizens and U.S. workers to promote rising wages for them. If low-skilled immigration was an unalloyed good for the economy, then why have we been growing at 1.5 percent for the last 17 years at a time of unprecedented new low wage arrivals. They just — the facts speak for themselves. At some point, we're accountable to reality.

Here’s the relevant portion of the White House press briefing from August 2:

White House press briefing
August 2, 2017
3:02 p.m. Eastern

GLENN THRUSH: Stephen, two quick questions. First of all, let's have some statistics. There have been a lot of studies out there that don't show a correlation between low skilled immigration and the loss of jobs for native workers. Cite for me, if you could, one or two studies with specific numbers that prove the correlation between those two things because your entire policy is based on that and secondly, I have sources that told me about a month ago that you guys have sort of elbowed infrastructure out of the way to get legislation out of the way to get immigration on the legislative queue. Tell me why this is more important than infrastructure.

STEPHEN MILLER: Well, the latter statement isn't true. I think the most recent study I will point to is the study from George Borjas that he just did about the Mariel boat lift and he went back and re-examined and opened up the old data and talked about how it actually did reduce wages for workers who were living there at the time and Borjas, of course, has done enormous amounts of research on this, as has the — Peter Kirsanow on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission as has Steve Camerota at the Center for Immigration Studies and so on and so forth.

THRUSH: How about the National Council of Scientists, Engineering, and Medicine

MILLER: And right, the recent study said that as much as $300 billion a year may be lost as a result of our current immigration system in terms of folks drawing more public benefits than they're paying in. But let's also use common sense here, folks. At the end of the day, why do special interests want to bring in more low skilled workers? And why, historically —

THRUSH: I'm not asking for common sense. I'm asking for specific statistical data. 

MILLER: Well, I think it's pretty clear, Glenn, that you're not asking for common sense. But if I could just — if I could just answer your question. 

THRUSH: How many — how many — common sense is wonderful. Statistics are not. Could you —

MILLER: I named — I named the studies, Glenn. 

THRUSH: Just let me finish the question. Tell me the — tell me the —

MILLER: Glenn, I named the studies. I named the studies. 

THRUSH: I asked you for a statistic. Can you tell me how many —

MILLER: Glenn, maybe we'll make a carve out in the bill that says The New York Times can hire all the less skilled, low paid workers from other countries and see how you feel then about low wage substitution. This is a reality that’s happening in our country — 

THRUSH: I’m not talking about The New York Times.

MILLER: Maybe it's time we had compassion, Glen, for American workers. President Trump has met with American workers who have been replaced by foreign workers. 

THRUSH: I'm not questioning any of that. I'm asking for statistics. 

MILLER: Ask them how this has affected their lives. 

THRUSH: I'm asking you for statistics. 

MILLER: Look at — I just told you.

THRUSH: The number of low skilled jobs that Americans might otherwise have. Why — [CROSSTALK] — where’s the evidence —

MILLER: First of all, if you look at the premise, Glenn, of bringing in low-skilled labor, it's based on the idea that there's a labor shortage for lower skilled jobs. There isn't. The number of people living in the United States in the working ages who aren't working today is at a record high. One in four Americans or almost one in four Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 aren't even employed. For African-American workers, their labor force participation rate who don't have a high school diploma — I guess, African-American males without a high school diploma has plummeted some 40 percentage points since the mass wave of unskilled migration began. The reality is that if you just common sense, and yes, I will use common sense. The reason why some companies want to bring in more unskilled labor is because they know that it drives down wages and reduces labor costs. Our question is as a government is, to whom is our duty. Our duty is to U.S. citizens and U.S. workers to promote rising wages for them. If low-skilled immigration was an unalloyed good for the economy, then why have we been growing at 1.5 percent for the last 17 years at a time of unprecedented new low wage arrivals. They just — the facts speak for themselves. At some point, we're accountable to reality. And on the other hand, like I said, you have ultra-high-skilled workers who are at the back of the line which makes no sense in the year 2017. 

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