Mick Mulvaney, Assistant to the President and Acting Chief of Staff, The White House, speaks during the Milken Institute's 22nd annual Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., April 30, 2019.  REUTERS/Mike Blake - RC1A249BA860
Mick Mulvaney, assistant to the president and acting chief of staff, the White House, speaks during the Milken Institute's 22nd annual Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., April 30, 2019.

Acting White House chief of staff Mike Mulvaney told a private audience in England Wednesday that the Trump administration is “desperate” for more legal immigrants to sustain the country’s strong economic growth under President Donald Trump.

"We are desperate — desperate — for more people," Mulvaney said during the event. "We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we've had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants."

The comment was reported by The Washington Post, who obtained audio of Mulvaney’s presentation.

But Mulvaney said those new immigrants must enter the country in a “legal fashion," saying that the White House wants to emulate the immigration systems in Canada and Australia.“

We are very interested in expanding that,” Mulvaney said.

The comments appear to put Mulvaney at odds with a some Trump administration officials, such as White House adviser Stephen Miller, who has advocated for severe restrictions in both legal and illegal immigrants.

Trump has spoken about the role of legal immigrants, saying they are essential to companies that are looking to move back to the U.S.“

I need people coming in because we need people to run the factories and plants and companies that are moving back in,” Trump said last year. “We need people.”

Despite his words, the administration has curbed legal as well as illegal immigration since Trump took office. The State Department slashed the number of visas issued by nearly 20%, and border authorities have made it tougher to claim asylum at the southern border.