Mayor Michael Bloomberg, here visiting the Forever 21 new Times...

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, here visiting the Forever 21 new Times Square location, is meeting with other cities' leaders to discuss immigration reform. (June 24, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

Chief executives of several major corporations, including Hewlett-Packard, Boeing, Disney and News Corp., are joining Mayor Michael Bloomberg to form a coalition advocating for immigration reform — including a path to legal status for all undocumented immigrants now in the United States.

The group includes several other big-city mayors and calls itself the Partnership for a New American Economy. It seeks to reframe immigration reform as the solution to repairing and stimulating the economy.

Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp., appeared together Thursday on Fox News to discuss the effort.

“We’re just going to keep the pressure on the congressmen,” Murdoch said. “I think we can show to the public the benefits of having migrants and the jobs that go with them.”

Bloomberg added, “Somebody has to lead and explain to the country why this is in our interest.”

The CEOs said Thursday in statements that their companies — and the nation — depend on immigrants.

“It’s our great strength as a nation, and it’s also critical for continued economic growth,” Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Robert Iger said in a statement. “To remain competitive in the 21st century, we need effective immigration reform that invites people to contribute to our shared success by building their own American dream.”

The group says it intends to make its point to policymakers by “publishing studies, conducting polls, convening forums and paying for public education campaigns.”

The tactics are similar to those used by Bloomberg’s coalition of mayors who support

gun control

.

Bloomberg has for years criticized the federal government for its immigration laws, proposing in 2006 a plan that would have  established a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal U.S. workers.

The billionaire mayor, a former chief executive of the financial information company Bloomberg LP, also said at the time that all 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States should be given the opportunity for citizenship, saying that deporting them is impossible and would devastate the economy.

Lawmakers who wanted to deport all illegal immigrants were “living in a fantasy world,” he said.

He has recently taken up the fight again, declaring this week that U.S. immigration policy “is national suicide.”

“If you want to solve the unemployment problem in America, you have to open the doors to immigrants who will come here, create businesses, because when the tide comes in, everybody’s boat rises,” Bloomberg told reporters Thursday. “We need more immigrants, not less.”

The group’s main immigration goals are to secure the borders, develop an easy system for employers to verify work eligibility, hold companies accountable for breaking the laws and improve the use of technology to prevent illegal immigration.

The group also wants more opportunities for immigrants to join the U.S. work force and a path to legal status for all undocumented immigrants.

Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post said no money has been spent  on the effort yet, and he could not say whether the group will be a standard nonprofit, a political action committee or a group known as a 501(c)4 nonprofit, which can operate outside the more strict limits governing political action committees.

The business leaders in the coalition employ more than 650,000 people and make more than $220 billion in annual sales,  combined.

The effort marks Bloomberg’s return to national issues after he spent 2009 campaigning for a third term, focusing mostly on New York City’s municipal concerns.

The Republican-turned-independent spent about two years testing the waters for an independent 2008 presidential run, but ultimately he gave up the idea.

By recruiting business leaders and mayors into a national-issue coalition, he is highlighting his background in running a city and running a business, which could be seen as an early move to dust off his presidential aspirations.

He denied that Thursday, saying he is not running for president.

 

 

 

 

 

The group’s main immigration goals are to secure the borders, develop an easy system for employers to verify work eligibility, hold companies accountable for breaking the laws and improve the use of technology to prevent illegal immigration.

The group also wants more opportunities for immigrants to join the U.S. work force and a path to legal status for all undocumented immigrants.

Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post said no money has been spent  on the effort yet, and he could not say whether the group will be a standard nonprofit, a political action committee or a group known as a 501(c)4 nonprofit, which can operate outside the more strict limits governing political action committees.   

The business leaders in the coalition employ more than 650,000 people and make more than $220 billion in annual sales,  combined.

The effort marks Bloomberg’s return to national issues after he spent 2009 campaigning for a third term, focusing mostly on New York City’s municipal concerns.

The Republican-turned-independent spent about two years testing the waters for an independent 2008 presidential run, but ultimately he gave up the idea.

By recruiting business leaders and mayors into a national-issue coalition, he is highlighting both of his backgrounds in running a city and running a business, which could be seen as an early move to dust off his presidential aspirations.

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