Warren Buffett, Sheldon Adelson and Bill Gates seek US migrant law change

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 9:15pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 9:15pm

Three of the world's richest men, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson, have castigated the US Congress, particularly the Republican-led House, over its failure to revamp immigration laws.

"Whatever the precise provisions of a law, it's time for the House to draft and pass a bill that reflects both our country's humanity and its self interest," Microsoft co-founder Gates, Berkshire Hathaway chairman Buffett and Las Vegas Sands chairman Adelson wrote in an item posted online by The New York Times yesterday.

"It's time for 535 of America's citizens to remember what they owe to the 318 million who employ them," the three men, who are worth a combined US$184.3 billion according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index, wrote in reference to House and Senate members.

While business representatives have long favoured rewriting immigration laws, the coordination of corporate titans who have varying political beliefs and interests is unusual.

The agency responsible for removing illegal immigrants would run out of money next month unless Congress approved President Barack Obama's emergency request for US$3.7 billion to help deal with a flood of child immigrants crossing the Mexican border illegally without their parents, homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson said on Thursday.

Obama continues to press the House to pass a broader rewriting of immigration laws.

Adelson, 80, and his wife, Miriam, have been key backers of Republican candidates for years. Buffett, 83, has given money largely to Democrats. Gates, 58, has donated money to members of both parties.

"The three of us vary in our politics and would differ also in our preferences about the details of an immigration reform bill," Gates, Adelson and Buffett wrote. "But we could, without a doubt, come together to draft a bill acceptable to each of us.

"It's time this brand of thinking finds its way to Washington."

Additional reporting by Associated Press