In a passionate plea for immigration reform, an unplugged Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday criticized the Obama administration and said politicians don't take the issue seriously.
The mayor made the comments at a panel discussion that also featured Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas and at which a report on why the U.S. is failing to attract and retain talent was unveiled.
The report—by the Partnership for New York City, a local group of big businesses; and the Partnership for a New American Economy, a national coalition of mayors and business people co-founded by Mr. Bloomberg and News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch—noted that foreign countries are shaping immigration policies to boost their economies, while a broken U.S. immigration system turns away the workers it needs for economic growth.
"What's happened in government is they're worried so much about getting re-elected, it's become so partisan, that they just don't even consider immigration as a real issue," Mr. Bloomberg said at the event, which was sponsored by the New York Forum, a group that promotes economic growth. "All they do is look to see what the politics of it are, and they never get around to discussing what the economics of it are or what the impact is on the educational system or business formation."
Mr. Bloomberg, a former Republican who dropped his party affiliation in 2006, laid the blame for the nation's failed immigration policies on both sides of the aisle.
"The demagoguery against it has no basis," he said. "There are no heroes here. You show me anybody who has stood up."
He criticized the Obama administration for failing to lead on the issue.