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Michaud: Bloomberg wants Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to debate immigration

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg takes part

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg takes part in a discussion of economics and the politics of immigration with former White House Chief of Staff William Daley during a meeting of The Chicago Economic Club in Chicago. (Aug. 14, 2012) (Credit: AP)

Inserting himself into the presidential debate has become a regular pastime for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and he's at it again today with a call for the candidates to have a genuine debate on immigration reform.

The mayor calls reform "one of the most effective and cost-free ways to generate economic growth," citing a new report from the Partnership for a New American Economy, a bipartisan group of mayors and business leaders. The report was released this morning at forums in Boston and Chicago.

The report found that "immigrants were responsible for 28 percent of new U.S. businesses in 2011 and are increasingly likely to start a business, just as the rate of new business generation among native-born Americans declines."

Small businesses have long been touted as one of the best engines for creating jobs -- especially, for jobs that cannot be exported overseas.

The new report does a highly detailed job of tracking the numbers from immigrant entrepreneurs -- an effort that many others have tried in the past, with limited success. The pushback always seems to be that illegal immigrants are a drain on the economy. They use services and take jobs that citizens would otherwise occupy, or so the argument goes.

Strangely enough, the report from the Partnership for a New American Economy doesn't wade into this contentious debate with any policy recommendations. It simply urges, on Page 26, that "any serious plan on job growth must recognize and welcome immigrant entrepreneurs."

Hunh. That still leaves a lot of room for debate. Any presidential candidates ready to jump in?

Pictured above: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg takes part in a discussion of economics and the politics of immigration with former White House Chief of Staff William Daley during a meeting of The Chicago Economic Club in Chicago. (Aug. 14, 2012)

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