President Donald Trump's choice for Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, has some conservatives concerned about his past advocacy for immigrants, the Washington Examiner reports.
During a conference for the Hispanic Leadership Network in 2012, Acosta took part in a discussion titled "Immigration Policy and the Hispanic Workforce," where he argued that "we need someone that's going to say we have to enact comprehensive immigration solutions," according to the Miami Herald.
"Part of that means figuring out what we do with all the individuals that are already in our nation. We need them here. They provide construction jobs. They provide agricultural jobs. We need to figure out a way to address that."
"We need to figure out a way to then have a pathway to further future legal immigration. And if we don't take it all at once, we're not going to solve it, because you can't solve part of it without solving the other part.
"You can't address immigration without answering what do you do with individuals that are already in the United States," Acosta said in 2012.
Robert Law, the Federation for American Immigration Reform's legislative director, told the Examiner that Acosta seems "no better than" Trump's previous Labor nominee Andrew Puzder.
"It is another nominee who would support mass amnesty rather than the needs of the American work force," Law said, although his organization hasn't officially opposed Acosta's nomination.
"We're taking a 'wait and see' approach to how he answers questions before the Senate."
Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which split from FAIR in 1985, said Acosta appears "less bad" than Puzder simply because he's been "less out front on the issue."
Other conservatives, such as Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, praised Acosta as "a good, strong conservative, understands the law . . . He's one of these people who will study the law and understand what is within his power and what isn't. He'll be a straight shooter."
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