Adelson, Gates, Buffett: Lack of immigration reform is 'depressing'

 

Three billionaires who have donated to opposite parties teamed up Thursday to urge Congress to pass immigration reform, saying current policy is irrational.

The current stalemate in Congress on immigration reform is depressing the rest of the country, wrote Sheldon Adelson, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. 

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"The three of us vary in our politics and would differ also in our preferences about the details of an immigration reform bill," they wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times. "But we could without doubt come together to draft a bill acceptable to each of us."

Casino magnate Adelson is a major financer of Republicans, donating millions of dollars in 2012 to super-PACs supporting GOP presidential candidates. Buffett and Gates have supported President Obama during his time in office. 

The trio urged the House to draft legislation and pass a bill that could be negotiated with the comprehensive Senate package passed last year, something House Republicans have repeatedly balked at. 

"The current stalemate — in which greater pride is attached to thwarting the opposition than to advancing the nation’s interests — is depressing to most Americans and virtually all of its business managers," they wrote. "The impasse certainly depresses the three of us."

They endorsed a number of provisions, including a path to citizenship for some living in the country illegally. They also supported provisions in the Senate bill that would give incentive to foreigners who study in the United States to stay.

Further, they called for reforms to the immigrant investors program, which is meant to allow grant visas to wealthy investors to bring their "substantial and enduring purchasing power" to the United States. 

The program is currently plagued by reports of fraud, they said. 

They specifically derided Washington's reaction to the primary loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). After the shocking upset in which he was hammered on the issue of immigration, many declared the effort dead ahead of the midterm elections.

"In particular, they are telling us that immigration reform — long overdue — is now hopeless," they said. "Americans deserve better than this."

Most lawmakers have resigned themselves to the fact that immigration reform will not happen this year. President Obama last month called on his administration to bring him a series of executive actions he could take after being told by GOP leaders they would not bring a bill to the floor this year. 

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has consistently said the Senate bill is a non-starter in the House.