Anti-Immigration Groups See Trump’s Calls for More Legal Immigrants as a Betrayal

WASHINGTON — For months, President Trump has been railing about the urgent need for a wall to protect against what he calls “an invasion” of illegal immigrants flooding across the southwestern border. But he has also been delivering another message: “We need workers,” he told a group of activists recently.

In other words, he wants more immigrants.

“I want people to come into our country, in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally,” Mr. Trump ad-libbed last month during his State of the Union address.

Comments like those from the president have ignited furious criticism from his hard-line, anti-immigrant supporters who accuse him of caving to demands for cheap foreign labor from corporations, establishment Republicans and big donors while abandoning his election promise to protect his working-class supporters from the effects of globalism.

“This is clearly a betrayal of what immigration hawks hoped the Trump administration would be for,” said Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates cutting legal immigration by more than half. He warned that Mr. Trump was in danger of being “not even that different from a conventional Republican.”

Breitbart News, a conservative website that promotes anti-immigrant messaging, published on Thursday the latest in a series of articles attacking Mr. Trump for catering to big business at the expense of the Americans who put him in the Oval Office. “Trump Requests ‘More’ Foreign Workers as Southern Border Gets Overrun,” the site blared on its home page.

“That Mr. Trump would advance the interests of the global elite ahead of our citizens would be a tragic reversal on any day,” Lou Dobbs, the Fox Business Network host, said in a televised rant against the president on Wednesday evening. “The White House has simply lost its way.”

By Michael D. Shear for THE NEW YORK TIMES

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