Originally posted Friday, 11 July 2014
Written by Warren Mass
In a July 10 op-ed piece in the New York Times, three of America’s wealthiest and most powerful business magnates — Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates — lamented that “immigration reform” legislation is having such difficulty in getting though Congress.
After praising two aspects (the “talented graduate” provision and the “pathway to citizenship,” or amnesty provision) of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” bill that the Senate approved last June 27 by a 68-to-32 vote, the three men called for the House to follow suit:
Whatever the precise provisions of a law, it’s time for the House to draft and pass a bill that reflects both our country’s humanity and its self-interest. Differences with the Senate should be hammered out by members of a conference committee, committed to a deal.
Continuing their plea, Adelson, Buffett, and Gates wrote:
Signs of a more productive attitude in Washington — which passage of a well-designed immigration bill would provide — might well lift spirits and thereby stimulate the economy. It’s time for 535 of America’s citizens to remember what they owe to the 318 million who employ them.
Both the Senate bill (S. 744) passed in 2013, and the House version (H.R. 15) that has stalled (precisely because it echoes the same flaws as the Senate bill), are titled the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.” Among the 32 senators voting against the bill were such outspoken opponents of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants as Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ken.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
Adelson, Buffett, and Gates noted that although they differed in their political views, they could still, if it were up to them, manage to come together “to draft a bill acceptable to each of us.” They asserted, correctly, that individuals “don’t have to agree on everything in order to cooperate on matters about which you are reasonably close to agreement.” Yet, they are all, apparently, in agreement on one of the most contentious points in the “Gang of Eight’s” bill, a point largely responsible for its lack of success in the House. That point is amnesty for illegal immigrants.
The three magnates noted: “The [Senate] bill also included a sensible plan that would have allowed illegal residents to obtain citizenship, though only after they had earned the right to do so.”
Looking at some of the businesses in which these three men earned their vast wealth ($174 billion combined), one might wonder what their corporate policies would be toward those who broke the law and violated their companies’ security. For example, if an individual cheated at the gaming tables of one of the Sands casinos owned by Adelson, what would be the consequences? Would that person be able to “earn the right” to gain access again? It is, in fact, standard policy in the casino industry not only to ban cheaters for life, but to circulate photos of the cheats among other casino owners, so they are unwelcome at virtually every major casino in the United States.
One of the many companies owned by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is Helzberg Diamonds. Would someone caught breaking into a Helzberg store ever be able to “earn the right” to shop at the store? More likely, their photo would be posted in every store to alert security.
And what would happen to a person who broke into a secure area at one of Gates’ Microsoft facilities? Would that individual be allowed to “earn the right” to work for, or even visit, a Microsoft facility?
Yet that is exactly what these men (and all who support a “path to citizenship” for those who have violated our immigration laws by illegally crossing our borders) are asking Congress to do.
Adelson, Buffett, and Gates wrote: “It’s time for the House to draft and pass a bill that reflects both our country’s humanity and its self-interest.”
However, even if an immigration bill that called for increasing border security and stricter penalties for those who cross our borders illegally managed to pass the House (which is by no means assured, given that half of the “Gang of Eight” were Republicans), would the Senate ever agree to it? And, more important, would President Obama, who has failed miserably to enforce even our present immigration laws, ever sign it?
Considering these questions provides a clue as to what the “Gang of three” business magnates would like to see happen: simply for the House to rubber stamp the key parts of what the Senate “Gang of Eight” created, including amnesty, by whatever name it is given.