Group of billionaires advocate for immigration reform

Three of the richest men in America have co-authored an open letter to Congress in which they push for comprehensive immigration reform. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson, Nos 1, 2 and 8 on the Forbes Magazine ranking of the richest Americans, published a piece collaboratively in the Opinions & Editorials section of the New York Times on Thursday addressing the divisive issue.

Their decision to speak out on the issue comes at the same time that Congress is considering a proposal from President Barack Obama asking for roughly $3.7 billion in funding to attempt to resolve the unprecedented number of unaccompanied immigrants crossing into the Southwestern US. Republicans have shown hesitation at the president’s proposal, citing fiscal concerns, while Democrats have largely supported the initiative. Since September 2013, over 57,000 unaccompanied migrant children have been detained crossing the border. That number is expected to exceed 90,000 by the end of 2014.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the three moguls’ decision to unite and speak out is that they differ politically. Gates and Buffet, the two richest men in America, are decidedly Democrats, having donated to President Obama’s campaign and numerous initiatives on the left side of the aisle. Adelson, who made his fortune owning a series of casinos, is a self-proclaimed Republican. The subtext of their letter is that those with political differences can still reach compromised agreements if willing to sacrifice some personal interest for the good of a larger group or entity. The three men wrote that no good can come from holding off on passing reform, which has stalled in the GOP-led House of Representatives.

“A Congress that does nothing about these problems is extending an irrational policy by default; that is, if lawmakers don’t act to change it, it stays the way it is, irrational. The current stalemate – in which greater pride is attached to thwarting the opposition than to advancing the nation’s interests – is depressing to most Americans and to virtually all of its business managers. The impasse certainly depresses the three of us,” the men wrote, indicating the damage that apathy and inaction will cause in the face of this pressing issue.