Rupert Murdoch Calls for Amnesty for 'Law-Abiding' Illegal Immigrants

By Edwin Mora | September 30, 2010 | 4:14 PM EDT

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corporation USA. (AP File Photo/Virginia Mayo)

( - News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch said he supports amnesty for “law abiding” illegal immigrants because as legal residents they can help the nation’s economy by adding to “our tax base.” He also said he supports securing the border to prevent more illegal immigrants from entering the United States.

At a hearing on Thursday before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Murdoch testified, “I joined Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg in organizing the Partnership for a New American Economy because I believe that all Americans should have a vital interest in fixing our broken immigration system so we can continue to compete in the 21st century global economy.”

“While supporting complete and proper closure of all our borders to future illegal immigrants, our partnership advocates reform that gives a path to citizenship for responsible, law-abiding immigrants who are in the U.S. today without proper authority,” said Murdoch, who was born in Australia and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

The News Corp. CEO, whose company owns the Fox News Channel, further said it is fiscally unfeasible to deport the illegal immigrants who are already in the United States, which he estimated as totaling about 12 million people.

“It is nonsense to talk of expelling 12 million people,” testified Murdoch. “Not only is it impractical, it is cost prohibitive.”

Murdoch cited a study that gauged “the price of mass deportation at $285 billion over five years,” which amounts to $57 billion per year, adding that “there are better ways to spend our money.”

“A full path to legalization--requiring unauthorized immigrants to register, undergo a security check, pay taxes and learn English--would bring these immigrants out of a shadow economy and add to our tax base,” said Murdoch.

He continued, “According to one study, a path to legalization would contribute an estimated $1.5 trillion to the Gross Domestic Product over 10 years.”

Murdoch did not cite the source for the studies he cited during his testimony.

Regarding border security, Murdoch said “we need to do more” than spend money on resources to secure our borders.  

“We can and should add more people, technology and resources to ensure that we have control over who comes into this country,” said Murdoch, “but I worry that spending alone will not stop the flow of illegal immigrants.”

He said that while the United States has increased border security funding every year since 1992, “the estimated population of illegal immigrants has more than tripled.”

“That number only started to decline when our country hit a recession and there were fewer jobs,” said Murdoch. “So, our border security must also be matched with efforts to make sure employers can’t hire illegal immigrants.”

Both Murdoch and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg testified about the role of immigration in strengthening America’s economy.

“Our system of immigration, I think it fair to say, is broken,” Bloomberg told the subcommittee. “I think it’s undermining our economy, it is slowing our recovery, and it really is hurting millions of Americans. And we just have to fix it.”

“Creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants will strengthen our economy,” said Bloomberg.

Bloomberg also said that his and Murdoch’s experience with the issue stems from having hired thousands of people over the years.

In contrast to Murdoch's and Bloomberg's testimony, Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, told the subcommittee that the economic losses caused by illegal immigrants outweighed the benefits.

He pointed out that the National Academy of Sciences has examined the fiscal impact of immigration.

“They found that the fiscal impact was enough to eat up the entire economic gain,” said Camarota. “So if you put the economic gain with the fiscal impact, you get no benefits at all, it would seem.”

Camarota also testified that illegal immigrants take jobs from Americans while also lowering wages. He said that the wage loss is 12 times bigger than the benefits.