Resuming office on New Year’s Day, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged to focus his efforts on immigration reform during his third term.
In his inaugural address, Mayor Bloomberg promised to “assemble a bi-partisan coalition to support President Obama’s call for comprehensive immigration reform that honors our history, upholds our values, and promotes our economy.”
In December, Bloomberg applauded the introduction of the CIRASAP bill (H.R. 4321), pledging to work with Congress to “pass a comprehensive reform bill that will strengthen our economy, improve our security and honor our history.” He was also blunt in calling those who wanted to curb immigration “stupid” at a service stop in Bronx and appeared on NBC Meet the Press earlier in the week, likening restrictionist immigration laws to “national suicide.”
Somehow or other, after 9/11 we went from reaching out and trying to get the best and the 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.
Other developed countries such as Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom find ways to retain educated immigrant students. The United States finds ways to send them off to Canada, which recruits educated young immigrant professionals. It’s a spin-off on the Statue of Liberty’s message: “Give us your underpaid, your overworked, your huddled masses of indentured nonimmigrants yearning to be free”.
Mayor Bloomberg won re-election for a third term last November after spending $102 million in a surprisingly close race where he won by a mere 4.58 percent — that’s over $22 K per each point or $183 per voter in his margin of win. Time will tell whether Bloomberg’s new pledge is mere lip service to draw immigrant voters or a genuine concern for the billionaire, who joined 18 CEOs in calling for the passage of the DREAM Act last May. Immigrant communities might be more convinced if Bloomberg spent some of his spare millions in a campaign to reform immigration and fix the city deficit.
In his second term as NYC mayor, Bloomberg assembled 500 mayors to support gun-control in a campaign called “Mayors Against Illegal Guns.” Lets hope Bloomberg takes advice from a political strategist and we don’t see a website titled “Mayors for Illegal Immigrants” anytime soon.
(Photo Credit:moriza’s photostream)