Murdoch backs progressive U.S. immigration policy

November 17, 2011

News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch on Thursday said the United States should work harder at making itself a more attractive country for people to emigrate to, as an important route back to enabling economic growth.
Murdoch, 80, who was born in Melbourne, Australia, became a naturalized a U.S. citizen in 1985.

“We have in our DNA the most entrepreneurship,” said Murdoch speaking at a conference on immigration sponsored by the Partnership for New York City and Partnership for a New American Economy. “It’s no accident that people over all over Europe want to come here…and from China. This is a great country.”

Other speakers like New York City Mayor Bloomberg, former Toronto mayor David Miller and New York Times writer Thomas Friedman all supported reforming the immigration system.

Murdoch said for the U.S. to get out of its economic slump there needed to be more certainty, less regulation and better tax codes. If that changed, combined with a better take on immigration policy, Murdoch said: “We’d soon be out of this trouble.”

In particular Murdoch was humorously critical of calls in some quarters to kick out an estimated 12 million illegal workers from Mexico.

“The idea of kicking out 12 million Mexicans it would cost $285 billion which we’d have to borrow from China to do it,” said Murdoch to laughs.

Murdoch pointed to countries like Britain benefiting from having a more open immigration policy simply because it is a member of the European Union allowing workers to move between countries. He highlighted highly skilled Polish construction workers as having an important role in building infrastructure for the London 2012 Olympics.

“The Poles got the 2012 Olympics stadium built a year early. If the British had been building themselves it would have been three months late.”

Of course Murdoch’s views on immigration or indeed other issues of the day aren’t always reflected in the many media outlets he owns. Long-time liberal watchdog Media Matters certainly didn’t think it reflects Fox News views which it said is  “reliably hostile to immigrants”.

“In fact, when Media Matters analyzed the guests Fox was inviting on to discuss the issue, our data showed that anti-immigrant guests outnumbered those with a pro-immigrant point of view by a 3-to-1 margin.”

After the event held at the PricewaterhouseCoopers office in New York, Murdoch declined to speak with Reuters about News Corp or his son James’ most recent testimony on the phone hacking scandal in the UK. “No offense, I’m not speaking to Reuters.”


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