In an Op-Ed piece published in the New York Times on Friday, Berkshire Hathaway’s Chair Warren Buffett joined two other billionaire executives in sending a message to Congress about the immigration reform impasse.
“We are getting shortchanged,” wrote Buffett, together with Sheldon G. Adelson, chair and chief executive of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, and Bill Gates, former chair and CEO of Microsoft, referring to the money “American citizens are paying 535 people to take care of the legislative needs of the country”—a job that isn’t getting done on immigration reform, they say.
Explaining in the piece that their politics differ from one another and that they aren’t even aligned in their thinking on what specific details of an immigration reform bill should entail, they nonetheless agree on the broad purpose—a bill that is humane to immigrants living in the United States and also contributes to the well-being of American citizens.
And there’s a lesson to be learned from the political and ideological differences of the three opinion writers, they contend. “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,” they wrote, asserting that they could come together to draft an acceptable bill “without doubt.”
While Buffett has been a supporter of President Obama, Adelson is known for his Republican leanings. Late in 2012, Adelson wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal titled, “I Didn’t Leave the Democrats. They Left Me,” referencing his Jewish heritage and his belief that sympathies towards Israel are lacking in the Democratic party.
On the immigration issue, Adelson, Buffett and Gates don’t offer many specifics about how they might agree to draft if they were lawmakers—saying mainly that it should reflect the nation’s “humanity and its self-interest.”
Two areas they address most specifically in the opinion piece relate to rule breakers and the status of immigrant technology and mathematics graduates. As to the first, they say people breaking immigration rules—and facilitators—should be “severely punished.”
Turning to the “insanity” of training students and then deporting them upon graduation, they write that for those who wish to stay in fields like computer science or technology, which badly need their their services, “let’s roll out the welcome mat.”
Separately, the former technology executive, Gates, in a different published article indicates his accord with Buffett on a totally different topic—their favorite business book, which is “Business Adventures” by John Brooks.
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)