Tom Cotton makes populist argument for "reorientation toward ultra-high-skill immigrants"

A "generation-long influx of low-skilled immigrants," the first-term Republican says, "undermines American workers"

Published December 28, 2016 9:06PM (EST)

  (AP/Danny Johnston)
(AP/Danny Johnston)

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton wrote an Op-Ed for The New York Times imploring Donald Trump to curb immigration — illegal and otherwise — as part of "a reorientation toward ultra-high-skill immigrants."

The president-elect, he wrote, "now has a clear mandate not only to stop illegal immigration, but also to finally cut the generation-long influx of low-skilled immigrants that undermines American workers."

Effectively parroting Trump's campaign appeals to the Rust Belt, Cotton — a staunch Republican — appeared to be diving head-first into economic populism with his case against legal immigration.

"Higher wages, better benefits and more security for American workers are features, not bugs, of sound immigration reform," he argued. "For too long, our immigration policy has skewed toward the interests of the wealthy and powerful: Employers get cheaper labor, and professionals get cheaper personal services like housekeeping. We now need an immigration policy that focuses less on the most powerful and more on everyone else."

"After all, the law of supply and demand is not magically suspended in the labor market," he continues. "As immigrant labor has flooded the country, working-class wages have collapsed."

After two years in the Senate, Cotton has become a stalwart of the GOP's far-right contingent. In that time, he's advocated for private prisons and mass surveillance of U.S. citizens, and claimed "waterboarding isn’t torture."

By Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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Donald Trump Immigration Populism Tom Cotton