Rupert Murdoch said his “heart sank” after he learned of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning Republican primary loss last week, because he believes Congress needs to tackle the issue of immigration reform this year.
Murdoch, the chair of News Corp., has an op-ed in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal in which he argued immigration reform “can’t wait.”
After Cantor’s loss, immigration reform was almost universally pronounced dead as a possibility this year, as it was perceived to be one of the issues on which Cantor lost favour with his Republican constituents. But Murdoch, touting his status as an immigrant from Australia, writes it would be “the wrong lesson and an undesirable national consequence” of a local election.
From Murdoch’s op-ed:
Some politicians and pundits will argue that this is not the time to bring immigration reform to the congressional floor — that it will frighten an already anxious workforce and encourage more extreme candidates, especially on the right. They may be right about the short-term politics, but they are dead wrong about the long-term interests of our country.
Maybe, as someone who came here as an immigrant, I have more faith in the compassion and fortitude of the American people, and in their ability to reject extreme views on either side of the political spectrum. Or maybe, as a businessman, I have learned that there is rarely a good time to do the hard things.
Murdoch has long been a supporter of immigration reform efforts, and he said he was pleased to see conservatives like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, increase their lobbying efforts on the issue recently.
Murdoch is a co-chair of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a pro-immigration reform group whose co-chairs include former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Disney CEO and President Bob Iger, among others.
Murdoch heaped praise on Obama for restraining his actions on the issue despite pressure from his base. But he said the mounting pressure should only serve as more incentive for Congress to act.
“However, if Congress fails to even try to have this important debate, the president might feel tempted to act via executive order. I hope it doesn’t get to that point, given the furious political firestorm that would result,” Murdoch wrote.
“All the more reason, then, to recognise that the facts are on the side of reform, and democratic societies don’t advance when our elected officials act like seat-warmers.”
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