Priorities for the Trump administration: Mayors speak on trade, immigration, and economic opportunity

A man walks past multi-colored homes that face the now-closed Bethlehem Steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Amy Liu, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, talks with the former mayors of Philadelphia and Mesa, Arizona, Michael Nutter and Scott Smith, now both nonresident senior fellows at Brookings, about what motivated voters in their former constituencies and how a Trump presidency will affect issues of trade, immigration, and economic opportunity.

“What we need is a rational, reformed immigration policy for all 50 states and territories that is a pathway to citizenship,” says Mayor Nutter. “Folks came here for a particular reason, mostly to become citizens. They work hard; take care of their families; start businesses; employ others, in some instances; and are not the problem. And so, whether it’s 11 million, 16 million, 2 or 3 million, [mass deportation] is virtually impossible and he knows, Mr. Trump knows that that is not something that is immediately doable.”

Mayor Smith explains: “I think part of the problem is we want to recreate the economy of the 50s and 60s and that’s not the economy we live in. That doesn’t mean that you just toss it aside and give up; that means that you redirect. There’re some places that are doing a very good job at that; there are other places that are not because they’re trying to hold on to what they used to be as opposed to what we can be.”

Related links:

Mayors weigh in on Trump’s proposed deportation of immigrants

Why cities and metros must lead in Trump’s America

Michael Nutter: An open letter to President-Elect Trump

With thanks to audio producer Gaston Reboredo, Vanessa Sauter, Basseem Maleki, Fred Dews, and Richard Fawal.

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