Adelson, Buffett, Gates: Break the Immigration Impasse

If House Republicans thought that no one would notice that they’ve failed to bring immigration reform to the Floor for a vote, they can think again. In response to Republican inaction, Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates came together to send them a message in a New York Times op-ed today: you don’t have to agree on everything in order to reach a compromise and get something done. Here are some highlights:

“The three of us vary in our politics and would differ also in our preferences about the details of an immigration reform bill. But we could without doubt come together to draft a bill acceptable to each of us. We hope that fact holds a lesson: You don’t have to agree on everything in order to cooperate on matters about which you are reasonably close to agreement. It’s time that this brand of thinking finds its way to Washington.”

“Most Americans believe that our country has a clear and present interest in enacting immigration legislation that is both humane to immigrants living here and a contribution to the well-being of our citizens. Reaching these goals is possible. Our present policy, however, fails badly on both counts.”

“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.”

“A Congress that does nothing about these problems is extending an irrational policy by default; that is, if lawmakers don’t act to change it, it stays the way it is, irrational. 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. The impasse certainly depresses the three of us.”

“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.”

The Senate has already acted, and House Democrats are ready to join them. It’s time for House Republicans to stop blocking action, and let the House work its will on immigration reform – a move that the overwhelming majority of Americans strongly support.

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