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Murdoch Favors Legalizing Immigrants

Mayor Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch testify at a hearing to promote immigration reform.

(Bloomberg, Murdoch article updated with information from the hearing.)

NEW YORK (

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CEO Rupert Murdoch argued that the U.S. economy would benefit from legalizing illegal immigrants at the "Role of Immigration in Strengthening America's Economy" hearing today.

In the hearing, held by the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Membership Murdoch argued that citizenship should be granted to the "responsible, law-abiding illegal immigrants" who are already in the U.S.

He said that deporting the 11 million to 12 million immigrants already in the states would cost the nation $385 billion. He explained that registering the immigrants as citizens would significantly add to the tax base, citing a study that shows legalization of immigrants could contribute an estimated $1.5 trillion to the U.S. GDP over ten years.

Democratic Representative Maxine Waters of Calif. challenged Murdoch, saying, "It does not appear that what you are talking to us about today and the way you are discussing it is the way that it is discussed on Fox for example."

Murdoch defended his network and his stance on the issue. "We don't censor that or take any particular line at all," he said. "We are not anti-immigrant on Fox News."

New York City Mayor Bloomberg also testified at the hearing calling for immigration reform.

"Our broken system of immigration is undermining our economy slowing our recovery and hurting millions of Americans," Bloomberg said. "We have to fix it -- and I believe this is an issue where Democrats, Republicans, and independents can find common ground."

Using New York City as an example, Bloomberg argued that immigrants are essential to economic growth in the U.S. in every industry. He touted immigrants as one of the main reasons why New York City "weathered the national recession better than the country as a whole."

In June, Bloomberg and Murdoch appeared on the Fox News show

Fox & Friends

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to promote the economic importance of immigration.

The two power players announced that they had formed a coalition called the Partnership for a New American Economy. The group is made up of politicians and CEOs, including

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Chairman Jim McNerney,

Disney

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CEO Robert Iger and

Daily News

publisher Mort Zuckerman, who argue that immigrants are needed for the U.S. economy to run effectively.

"We need a supply of immigrants to keep the Americans who are here today, working; it's not the reverse," Bloomberg said on the show.

"We're just going to keep the pressure on the congressmen. I think we can show to the public the benefits of having immigrants and the jobs that go with them," Murdoch said.

The coalition also announced the launch of its Web site,

RenewOurEconomy.org

. The site lists the members of the partnership and provides visitors with information on the immigration reform efforts.

Last week, comedian Stephen Colbert, whose show

The Colbert Report

appears on

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Comedy Central, appeared before the House panel to speak about the plight of farm workers.

-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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