By Deniz Cam
March 12, 2016
With his blunt remarks on immigration, real estate billionaire and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump might be leading the Republican race, but his pool of critics grow every single day – and it now includes an increasing number of fellow billionaires. Crossing bipartisan lines, billionaires like George Soros, Rupert Murdoch, Larry Ellison, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have all voiced their support for pro-immigration action, and some have even called out Trump.
This Thursday, George Soros announced a $5 million donation to Immigrant Voters Win PAC that wants to bring more immigrants to the ballot box for pro-immigration causes. The PAC has raised a total of $10 million since December and is ready to start its operations in May. With his significant donation, Soros became the catalyst of the initiative, which was a not so subtle jab at Trump and a clear effort to defeat him at the voting booth.
“America’s values are being threatened by a virulent surge of xenophobia and nativism,” says Hungarian born Soros, “Donald Trump is the most vulgar and obvious expression of this.” Known for his continuous support for the Democratic Party, Soros’ pro-immigration agenda dates back to 1996 and the Emma Lazarus Fund, which has since helped thousands of immigrants to naturalize. Twenty years later, Soros is the biggest donor behind Immigrant Voters Win PAC, a joint C4-Super PAC operation led by Center for Community Change Action (CCCAction), America’s Voice, and Latino Victory Project. The announcement was made on Thursday by CCCAction.
While emphasizing that they are not a partisan initiative, Immigrant Voters Win stems from partisan tensions. Deepak Bhargava, executive director of CCCAction, blames the Republicans for “hav[ing] turned immigration reform into a partisan issue by blocking bipartisan immigration reform in the House, suing in the courts to tear immigrant families apart and now unleashing a torrent of anti-immigrant, xenophobic demagoguery in the run-up to the 2016 election.” The project will carry out a lot of fieldwork and inform Latino voters on what is happening politically and in court, regarding immigration. It hopes to get them out and vote in support of candidates who are pro-immigration.
While a political adversary, Rupert Murdoch, the businessman behind News Corporation and the staple conservative outlet Fox News, was actually one of the first billionaires to call out Trump on his approach to immigration. An immigrant himself, the Australian-born billionaire challenged Trump on Twitter early in July 2015 and said the presidential candidate was “embarrassing his friends, let alone his country”. He continued his Twitter rant with facts on immigrant incarceration rate and pointed out that “Mexican immigrants, as with all immigrants, have much lower crime rates than native born”.
Besides Murdoch and Soros, other billionaires have been long-time backers of immigration, too. In November 2014, Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates joined together for immigration reform penning a NYTimes op-ed that asked Congress to structure a constructive policy. Similarly, both hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer and Oracle founder Larry Ellison reportedly lobbied for Marco Rubio’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill. The bill seeks to establish a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, as well as to expand the quota of H-1B visas, which allow high-skilled foreigners to stay and work in the U.S. Ellison hosted a $2,700 per plate fundraiser for the candidate in June, and according to FEC filings, donated $4 million to Rubio’s campaign since May 2015.
While some blame tech companies for exploiting the H1-B program, accusing them for hiring foreign workers and offering them less in compensation, the Facebook-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg might prove the skeptics wrong. Through the initiative FWD.us, Zuckerberg pushes for immigration reform that goes well beyond H1-Bs. On Tuesday, more than 60 tech entrepreneurs including Zuckerberg submitted an amicus brief in support of President Obama’s heavily-scrutinized executive actions that would at least temporarily stop the deportation of some 5 million undocumented immigrants. That legislation has been halted since February 2015 and now lies in the hands of the Supreme Court. FWD.us argues that the reform would reduce the federal deficit by $897 billion over 20 years.
Just a day after Zuckerberg’s positive Facebook status on the U.S. being a nation of immigrants, Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Islam hates America, and that Americans “can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States”. Maybe the skewed rhetoric prevents people from seeing the bigger picture, but as Soros points out: “The idea of America as a nation of immigrants is part of America’s unique strength.”
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com