News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch said his “heart sank” after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss last week because he worries about the prospects for immigration reform.
He also took a strong leaning to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), considered a likely Republican presidential contender in 2016, and who last week expressed a willingness to move forward on some type of immigration reform as long as it involved securing the border first.
“When I learned that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had lost his Republican primary, my heart sank,” Murdoch wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by News Corp. “Not simply because I think he is an intelligent and talented member of Congress, or because I worry about the future of the Republican Party. Like others who want comprehensive immigration reform, I worried that Mr. Cantor’s loss would be misconstrued and make Congress reluctant to tackle this urgent need.”
He warned against an executive order from President Barack Obama, but said it might happen if Congress doesn’t act on an immigration reform bill passed by the Senate.
“President Obama has shown wise restraint despite pressure from the left to act, recognizing that a bipartisan approach on such an immense issue would be best. Remember ObamaCare?” Murdoch wrote. “However, if Congress fails to even try to have this important debate, the president might feel tempted to act via executive order. I hope it doesn’t get to that point, given the furious political firestorm that would result.”
“All the more reason, then, to recognize that the facts are on the side of reform, and democratic societies don’t advance when our elected officials act like seat-warmers,” he continued.
While acknowledging the political obstacles in an election year, he said there is never a good timing for tackling a difficult issue.
“That is why I was pleased to see Sen. Rand Paul and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, step up their efforts to lobby for immigration reform,” he wrote.
Paul, who attended the Kentucky Derby with Murdoch this year, voted against the Gang of Eight immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013 over concerns that it did not have enough border security.
Murdoch said there should be a path to citizenship, do away with the cap on H-1B visas for workers to come into the United States, along with stronger border security.
Several times in the oped, he referenced his own status as an immigrant from Australia, and cited the Partnership for a New American Economy, a pro-immigration group, that said more than 40 percent of America’s Fortune 500 companies.