New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks in Washington. (Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated…)
WASHINGTON – President Obama’s decision to allow some young illegal immigrants to work legally in the United States drew applause from business leaders across the political spectrum.
Business leaders have long argued that the United States’ current immigration policy makes the country less competitive.
Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp., joined Alcoa Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld and Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman in issuing a full-throated endorsement of the president’s new policy.
“We hope this prompts Congress to reach agreement on common-sense immigration policies that reflect American labor market needs and American values,” the group said in a joint statement. “Young people who had no choice over coming to this country, have grown up here and now want to become productive members of our society should not be treated like criminals.”
Although it is unusual for a conservative like Rupert Murdoch to applaud an Obama administration policy, this endorsement comes as little surprise, as Murdoch has spent years calling for immigration reform.
The media tycoon appeared on his cable news network, Fox News, in 2010, to push the idea.
“I think we can show to the public the benefits of having migrants and the jobs that go with them,” Murdoch said during the appearance with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican turned independent. The duo has long supported a policy that creates a path to legal status for illegal immigrants who are already in the United States.
Both are members of the Partnership for New York City, a group that, along with the Partnership for a New American Economy, released a report last month warning that, “America’s position as the global magnet for the world’s most talented and hardest-working is in jeopardy.”
Other countries are leapfrogging the United States because of strategies like “prioritizing economic over political goals by providing a high percentage of visas based on economic reasons,” the report said.
Bloomberg reiterated that sentiment Friday in a statement praising the Obama administration’s new policy.
“Ending deportations of innocent young people who have the potential to drive tomorrow’s economy is long overdue, as are many common-sense reforms needed to center our immigration policy around our economic needs,” he said.