New York City Mayor Michael Bloombergand News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch called for comprehensive immigration reform in Boston last night, saying immigrants’ role in starting new businesses and creating jobs is increasing.
The pair argued in a panel discussion held at the Seaport Hotel that both parties and presidential campaigns must address immigration reform as a national priority. Economically, “this is an overwhelming case,” said Murdoch before the audience of about 250 at the forum organized by The New England Council.
Bloomberg and Murdoch are two of nine co-chairs of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a nonpartisan national group of 450 mayors and business leaders dedicated to stressing the connection between immigration reform and economic vitality through advocacy and reports, such as the one presented Tuesday evening.
“We’re taking the best and the brightest. They get their PhDs, or their masters, and then we send them overseas. They can’t teach here, they can’t do their research here,” said Bloomberg, referring to the current immigration system’s incapacity to grant work visas more easily. Murdoch added that immigrants who graduate with a STEM degree from a U.S. university should automatically be given green cards with their diplomas.
The media magnate, who was born in Australia, also referred to the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. “Give them a path to citizenship. They pay taxes; they’re hardworking people. Why Mitt Romney doesn’t do it, I have no idea because they’re natural Republicans,” said Murdoch.
“People don’t come here to put their feet up and collect welfare. They come here to work. If there are no jobs, they don’t come. If they’re here and can’t find jobs, they go back home,” added Bloomberg.
“One in four Bostonians was born outside of the U.S. Today, less than half of the city is white,” said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who spoke briefly before the panel began. Menino is also a member of The Partnership for a New American Economy. Other Massachusetts members include:Amar Sawhney, CEO of Ocular Therapeutix, Roger Crandall, CEO of MassMutual, and Mort Zuckerman, chairman of Boston Properties, among other local mayors and business leaders.
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