Rupert Murdoch, Sheldon Adelson Call For Immigration Reform

Herewith, a dispatch from the “who’d have thought?” department of the MurthyBlog: as regular readers will have noted in recent months, support for immigration reform has been getting ever more bipartisan; it’s no longer just the Democrats who are behind it. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and other Republican Senators have begun to push for immigration reform, once again, with moral support from a who’s who of GOP luminaries – among them, former Senators Bob Dole (R-KS) and Howard Baker (R-TN); former Mississippi Governor and onetime Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Haley Barbour; former Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, and establishment-conservative columnist, George Will. [See, e.g., Bipartisan Policy Center: Immigration Reform Would Grow Economy, MurthyBlog, 30.Dec.2013.]

Support for immigration reform has been cropping up, of late, even on the far-right flanks of the party: Senator Rand Paul has become a vocal reform advocate, and Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, and Sal Russo, Chairman of Tea Party Express have publically called for action in this area. [See, e.g., CIR Gaining Ground Among Rank-and-File Conservatives, MurthyBlog, 28.May.2014.]

Against this backdrop, it’s still surprising to note who else has joined the chorus of conservative stalwarts in demanding prompt and decisive action on immigration reform: press baron Rupert Murdoch, and the casino magnate and prominent GOP donor, Sheldon Adelson. Both released Op-Ed pieces arguing that Congress should put aside the political gamesmanship and do what’s in the national interest: fix our immigration system – now!

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Murdoch said Congress should get over Mr. Cantor’s loss and pass comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, an H1B visa program no longer constrained by arbitrary caps, and a system that welcomes foreign-born entrepreneurs instead of sending them packing. [See Immigration Reform Can’t Wait, by Rupert Murdoch, Wall Street Journal, 18.Jun.2014.]

Mr. Adelson was pointedly political: “As a Republican, it’s my view that efforts to complete immigration reform should be led by our party. Some on the outer fringes of the GOP may disagree, but the truth is we are humans first and partisans second. Frankly, the Democrats don’t have a monopoly on having hearts.” [See Let’s Deal With Reality and Pass Immigration Reform, by Sheldon G. Adelson, Politico Magazine, 19.Jun.2014.] The results of a single, localized primary election shouldn’t keep the GOP from providing a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants, he argued, nor should it prevent them from allowing undocumented immigrant children to pursue higher education.

As Mr. Murdoch pointed out, we can’t afford not to pass immigration reform, because immigrants not only enrich our culture, they “add to our economic prosperity.” His argument is clear-eyed and cogent, and bears quoting at length:

“Do Americans really wish Google, eBay, Pfizer, or Home Depot were headquartered in Eastern Europe or China instead of America? Whether it’s a high-profile tech company or a small business employing just 10 people, 28% of all new American businesses started in 2011 were founded by immigrants. Those are entrepreneurial people we want to continue to attract to our economy. I don’t believe that people come to America to sit on their hands. The vast majority of America’s immigrants are hardworking, family-minded individuals with strong values. They are drawn here from many different places by a common belief that this is still the land of opportunity for those willing to work hard.”

Well said, but perhaps not that different from the arguments immigration advocates have been making for years. What’s different is who said it, and that may yet prove persuasive to House GOP members who are still holding up the process. Should they decide to support immigration reform – at long last – they’ll have plenty of company on the conservative side of the aisle.

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