Bloomberg Slams Congress' Proposed Immigration Legislation


Be Your Own Hero
Nov 11, 2003
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Bloomberg Says Plan to Deport Millions Is 'Ridiculous'


Published: May 24, 2006
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, in his most scathing attack to date on legislation working its way through Congress, declared a House proposal to deport 11 million illegal immigrants "pure fantasy" and called parts of a Senate plan "no less ridiculous."

"You have to wonder what world Congress is living in," the New York City mayor said in an interview on CNN. "Talk to any mayor who has to enforce the law and you'll find that none of these things are remotely possible."
Mr. Bloomberg was elaborating on proposals he made in an Op-Ed article published in The Wall Street Journal today, in which he called for the creation of an employment identity card using fingerprints or DNA information, and for an increase in the number of visas issued to both skilled and manual workers.

The mayor had made similar comments before, both during his re-election campaign last year and interviews earlier this spring. But the article and television appearance today represented his most visible and detailed attempt to influence legislation as the Senate moves toward final passage of a bill — or to distance himself from the work of his Republican colleagues in Washington.

Mr. Bloomberg did ally himself with one portion of the Senate bill, which would allow illegal aliens who have been in the country for more than five years to earn legal status through a lengthy process. But the mayor, who had previously sidestepped the question of what to do about current illegal aliens, went far beyond the Senate plan, saying that the only "practical" solution was make that offer available to all of "those already here."
Mr. Bloomberg said the bills in both houses of Congress would repeat the mistakes made the last time immigration laws were overhauled, in 1986.
"Here we are with 10 times the problem, and we're going to do exactly the same thing," he said.

Mr. Bloomberg said in the interview that the American economy would be "devastated" by the deportation of large numbers of illegal immigrants.
In the article, speaking of New York and its estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants, he wrote: "Although they broke the law by illegally crossing our borders or overstaying their visas, our economy would be a shell of itself had they not, and it would collapse if they were deported. The same holds true for the nation."

Mr. Bloomberg said that the current situation was the result of two decades in which the federal government was "pressured to look the other way while workers were exploited."

"As a business owner, I know the absurdity of our existing immigration regulations all too well," he wrote. He said that the "crucial step" in reducing illegal immigration was holding businesses accountable for hiring legal workers only, while creating an identity card and database system that would make that possible.

In the interview, he acknowledged that any such plan would raise "Big Brother" fears, but said that without cards based on fingerprints or DNA information the only result of any new law would be a flood of new faked documents. "With today's computers you can replicate anything," he said.
While the mayor said that he supported plans to toughen border security, he said that without reducing incentives for illegal immigration and issuing more visas, "border guards will remain overwhelmed by the flood of people attempting to enter illegally."

Mr. Bloomberg said that workers from overseas were needed both to keep the economy growing and to replace members of the baby boom generation as they begin to retire. He said "recent studies give the lie to old arguments that immigrants take jobs away from native-born Americans and significantly depress wages."

But the mayor was most critical when discussing the bills under discussion. Last December, the House passed a bill calling for the deportation of all illegal immigrants and making illegal entry into the country a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

The Senate has been voting this week on a bill that would take a layered approach. It would require that all illegal immigrants who have been in the country for two years or less be deported, and that those who have been here for three to five years return to the border to apply to participate in a guest worker program. Those who had been in the United States longer would be eligible for an 11-year process that could lead to citizenship after the paying of fines.

President Bush has indicated support for the Senate plan, while Republicans in the House are firmly opposed to anything that could be considered an amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Mr. Bloomberg, a Republican mayor of an overwhelmingly Democratic city, said the House plan for mass deportations would be "physically impossible to carry out, though if it were attempted, it would devastate both families and our economy."

"The Senate's tiered approach requiring that some people 'report to deport' through guest worker programs — while leaving their spouses, children and mortgages behind — is no less ridiculous," he wrote. "If this approach becomes law, there can be little doubt that the black market for false documentation would remain strong and real enforcement impossible."


While I'm not hot on the idea of a national employment ID card using DNA or fingerprints (too many potentials for abuse), nor am I a very big fan of Bloomberg in general, my hat's off to him for stepping up and pointing out how ridiculous some of these ideas that are being proposed really are. Good to see a prominent politician calling a spade a spade. :up:

cass said:
Thanks, Mayor of NYC!

I find it sad that the strongest political voice to point out the idiocy of these plans had to come from outside Washington.


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