Photo: Mayor Michael Bloomberg
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports from Chicago where he has launched a campaign to build support in the business community for immigration reform. Mayor Bloomberg told Andrea Mitchell that immigration reform is the key to both maintaining and growing jobs and innovation in the United States, saying that having a nationwide mentality against immigration is “national suicide.”
A portion of the transcript can be read here, the full video of the Andrea Mitchell Reports interview can be found below.
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: What is the clearest solution to the jobs crisis that no one is talking about? Economists say immigration reform, that immigrants create more small businesses and new jobs than native-born Americans.
Here in Chicago today, New York mayor Mike Bloomberg launched a campaign along today with former White House chief of staff Bill Daley to build support in the business community for the tough political decisions to reform immigration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Well, nobody comes here to put their feet up and take welfare. That’s just – you know, it may play well on the stump, but America is not a good place for that. There are plenty of other places where you can sleep in good weather and get food and not have to worry about it. America—and particularly cities like Chicago and New York, these are tough competitive cities. And the only people that come here are people who want to give up everything, take risks and work hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MITCHELL: And joining me now is New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. We talked about it today, you talked about it, you’re trying to build political support for it. Tell us why immigration is good for the economy.
BLOOMBERG: Well, number one, the economy is the issue. At least that’s what the self-styled experts say. And neither of the presidential candidates are talking about it. They should be talking about it, because the ways to fix the economy, the way to create jobs, the way to make sure that industries don’t get developed overseas, to make sure that overseas universities don’t catch up to us, is to have immigrants come here and do the things that we need to do.
And it’s at both ends of the economic spectrum. We need people to come here for seasonal labor because the bottom line is, no matter what anybody says, Americans—and it gets demonstrated time and time again—will not do those jobs. And if those jobs aren’t done, the crops rot in the fields. That’s been true in the Southeast. A lot of farms are moving to Mexico because we don’t have people here willing to do that back-breaking work that’s low wages, but that’s what it is. It’s the only way you’re going to have low-cost fruits and vegetables. And if you can’t get the labor, you just can’t get the crops in, so you’re not going to grow them here.
And if those people were allowed to come here, they would create jobs because there’s up the scale lots of things, delivery and handling and cleaning and inspections, that pay much better, that get created if we have the seasonal workers.
At the other end, we need the people who are going to invent the next best thing, who are going to start the next company, the so-called science and technology, engineering and math graduates. The people who get Ph.Ds. For every one of those that we have here, they create a whole bunch of jobs downscale. So, from both ends, the solution in America to more jobs is more immigrants. And unfortunately, both candidates demagogue on this and say oh, no, no, no, there aren’t enough jobs so we don’t want immigrants. As long as that’s the mentality, you will not have enough jobs and you are sowing the seeds for what I call national suicide.
Because the people that can start companies, the people that can create jobs, if they can’t get it here, they will go someplace else. Canada wants them in. Canada—most of the visas they give out are for the people they need to help their economy. In America, we give out too few visas, and most of them are not to people who will help our economy. They are simply for people who happen to have connections because there are a lot of their ethnicity here in this country, a lot of family members are here. That’s a prescription for long-term disaster in this country.
MITCHELL: And all of the studies, the study that you just released today show that these immigrants are starting businesses at a higher rate than native-born Americans –
BLOOMBERG: Oh, not even close.
MITCHELL:—hiring more. One in 10 workers in the United States works for a firm started by an immigrant. And we’re talking about small businesses as well as Fortune 500 companies.
BLOOMBERG: Yes. And if you look at the two presidential candidates, they pander to their voting blocs, but they don’t address the real issue. That’s not leadership.