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Prominent Entrepreneurs Advocate for Immigration Reform

This week Rupert Murdoch and Sheldon Adelson, both wildly successful entrepreneurs and generous Republican donors who rank among the richest people in the world, wrote editorials in support of comprehensive immigration reform. In the Wall Street Journal, which Murdoch owns, the news and business magnate writes that comprehensive immigration reform will revive the American economy. He worries that many will see Rep. Eric Cantor’s stunning loss to a radical nativist Tea Party candidate as a sign that immigration reform is politically impossible. Yet, one primary race in one conservative Southern district should not be used as a definite test on the views and opinions of a nation of 300 million. Most Americans support immigration reform and understand, like Murdoch does, that most immigrants (even those who did not come legally) come to this country seeking a better life for their families. In his words,

“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.”

Murdoch sees immigration reform as both a practical necessity for the millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country and as a financial imperative for the future health of the American economy. Like most reasonable people and other successful entrepreneurs, Murdoch thinks that the limited number of available H-1B visas for high skilled foreign born workers is detrimental to innovation and economic growth.

Murdoch knows that getting Congress, and especially House Republicans, to ignore the extremist views and follow reason and logic to pass something that the country desperately needs will be a tough process. But he lends the reader some personal insight,

“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.”

Meanwhile, Sheldon Adelson, the Casino magnate, published an op-ed in Politico urging Congress to act. Titled “Let’s Deal With Reality and Pass Immigration Reform”, Adelson also believes that we must deal with what is in front of us. The issue is not going away and so we must take action, saying “There is no wave of a magic wand that could accomplish such a task. Nor should there be.”

Adelson’s parents immigrated to the United States from Ukraine, so the issue of immigration hits close to home. He’s disappointed that his own party has been so resistant to reform, “Frankly, the Democrats don’t have a monopoly on having hearts.” But Adelson also points out that most of us, with the exception of Native Americans, have ancestors who came from another country and it’s our duty to make sure that the United States remains a welcoming country for newcomers. He says,

“Let’s reassure all of those who came before us and are now looking down from above that the principles undergirding America’s foundations live on. Let’s not close the door on those “yearning to breathe free.”