Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) recently blamed America's current labor shortage, in part, on former President Donald Trump's efforts to fight illegal immigration.
What did he say?
Speaking with reporters Monday after the Senate parliamentarian ruled against including a pathway to citizenship in the forthcoming budget reconciliation, Schumer claimed that one of the major reasons for the worker shortage has to do with "how Trump cut back on immigrants."
"The American people understand that fixing our broken immigration system is a moral imperative [and] also an economic imperative because immigrants are so important to our economy," the top Democrat said.
"Talk about shortage of workers — one of the main reasons is how Trump cut back on immigrants, both documented and undocumented," he argued.
The lawmaker added earlier, in specific reference to the Senate parliamentarian's ruling, that the decision was "extremely disappointing" to him.
"It saddened me, it frustrated me, it angered me, because so many lives are at stake. But, make no mistake, the fight continues," he said.
What's the background?
Schumer and other Democrats in Congress had been working diligently alongside the Biden administration to pass progressive immigration reform as part of the president's $3.5 trillion spending plan by providing green cards and a pathway to citizenship for approximately 8 million immigrants from four categories: so-called "Dreamers," those with Temporary Protected Status, farm workers, and essential workers.
But that plan ran into a wall over the weekend after two moderate Democratic senators — Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) — signaled they might block the spending package.
Then, on Sunday, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough dealt another blow to President Biden and his Democratic counterparts in determining that the immigration reforms could not be considered within a budget reconciliation because they would amount to "by any standard a broad, new immigration policy."
"The policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation," MacDonough concluded.
In the backdrop of all this, the U.S. economy continues to grapple with a labor shortage amid its slow recovery from COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns — and that's where Schumer hoped to apply some political pressure.
In a clever ploy, the New York Democrat tried to tie America's labor shortage to Republican efforts to confront illegal immigration, essentially arguing that open borders would lead to jobs being filled.
The pesky worker shortage problem would immediately be solved, he argued, if only America were to grant citizenship to millions who entered the country illegally.