Mayor Bloomberg travelled down to Washington today along with fellow media mogul Rupert Murdoch to make the case for comprehensive immigration reform before a House Judiciary subcommittee.
The testimony grew heated at times, with Bloomberg calling out Congress for failing to fix the country’s broken immigration system.
Rep. Steve King, an anti-immigrant Republican congressman from Iowa, called out the mayor for citing statistics which King claimed contradicted other analyses. King asked Bloomberg where he got his data from.
“The study is what goes on every day in New York City,” Bloomberg said, and referencing the man sitting next to him he continued, “Rupert and I together employ about 75,000 people so we know a little bit about job creation.”
The mayor said that 40 percent of New York’s 8.4 million people were immigrants, and he said that even the 500,000 undocumented immigrants who live in the city are a net benefit, since 75 percent of them pay social security taxes but do not get the benefits of the program, and since most of them are single and without children they can add to the economy without draining resources.
And Texas congressman Ted Poe, who once compared illegal immigrants to grasshoppers, made the case for border security and said that 67 percent of the children born at LBJ Hospital in Houston were born to mothers that were illegal immigrants.
“What frustrates the American public,” the mayor shot back, citing polls, “Is that we can’t understand why you guys complain about immigrants coming over the border illegally and then don’t do anything about it.”
The mayor said that he believed in border security, but said that more visas must be granted to highly skilled immigrants since American companies are hungry for those kinds of employees.
The other moment of note in the hearing was when Congressman Anthony Weiner, the mayor’s one-time opponent, threw him a softball about America losing its edge if it came to be seen as an unwelcoming place.
The mayor briefly answered Weiner’s question, and then broke with protocol somewhat by addressing Weiner by his first name and answering another committee member’s question.
“There is a great danger that we will lose the reputation as the land of the free and the home of the brave,” he said. “And Congresswoman Sanchez, let me just address one thing, I know it’s on Anthony’s time…”
Full video here