Right On, Mayor Bloomberg!

On January 1st, billionaire financier and philanthropist, Michael Bloomberg, was sworn in for his third term as mayor of New York City. Reuters reports that he used the occasion to announce his support for comprehensive immigration reform, something he now pledges to actively promote during his third term. (See: NY Mayor Bloomberg to Promote Immigration Reform, by Daniel Trotta, Reuters, Jan 1, 2010.) According to Reuters, Mayor Bloomberg’s inauguration speech called for “comprehensive immigration reform that honors our history, upholds our values, and promotes our economy.” This was a tamer version of his remarks on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on December 27; Reuters reports that Mayor Bloomberg said, “We’re committing what I call national suicide. Somehow or other, after 9/11 we went from reaching out and trying to get the best and brightest to come here, to trying to keep them out. In fact, we do the stupidest thing, we give them educations and then don’t give them green cards.” Right on, Mr. Bloomberg!

Although as mayor of New York, Mr. Bloomberg obviously has no vote in the House or Senate, he does have one of the largest bully pulpits this side of the presidency, with over 8 million constituents. As the Reuters piece notes, Bloomberg has been successful in past efforts to focus national attention on important issues, as when he rallied 500 mayors in a campaign against illegal guns. He has gained a reputation for being a business-savvy pragmatist, one who places problem-solving ahead of ideological orthodoxy. If Mr. Bloomberg can galvanize his political base in New York, and bring several hundred mayors in behind him, it will increase pressure on Congress to put CIR on the legislative agenda. After all, as the late House Speaker, “Tip” O’Neill, was fond of saying: “All politics is local.”

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