Buttigieg: Immigrants needed to cover American worker shortage

"The United States has a population growth problem," his campaign wrote

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg released a multifaceted immigration proposal on Sunday and highlighted a "growth problem" in the U.S. that could lead to a shortage of 8 million workers by 2027.

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"In 2018, births hit a three-decade low. Our population is rapidly aging," Buttigieg's team wrote in an immigration white paper. "Absent increases in immigration, GDP growth will decrease by 1.4 percent a year over the next decade. And it's not only a rising population that increases GDP; diversity itself is a driver of economic growth."

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The prediction that the U.S. will be short 8 million workers by 2027 is from a March report by the Migration Policy Institute. Population aging could especially affect the manufacturing sector here in the U.S.

In his plan, Buttigieg also says he would reprioritize the nation's deportation efforts with the goal of cracking down on criminals and protecting otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants.

Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Buttigieg plans to implement an executive order to prioritize enforcement on undocumented immigrants who are a "genuine public safety threat." A Buttigieg administration would pursue deportations for those who have just entered the country and have no claim of asylum.

The South Bend, Indiana mayor wrote that this "targeted and effective" approach will "assure law-abiding people who pose no public safety risk that they have nothing to fear from our government."

Meanwhile, recent polling shows that Buttigieg is competitive in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House.

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Immigration enforcement has been a linchpin of Donald Trump's presidency, with his administration ordering mass deportation roundups across the country earlier this year.

Trump has deported 282,242 people in the fiscal year 2019, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Deportations, however, were higher during the Obama administration. According to DHS data, Obama removed more than 2 million illegal immigrants during his tenure.

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Fox News' Andres del Aguila contributed to this report.