Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday that the U.S. is mortgaging its future by not allowing immigrants to work in the country.
Speaking at the New York Forum, Bloomberg said that if he had his way, immigration policy could be decided at the state level.
"There's no reason why you have to have one common immigration policy for all of America. You could let each state do it differently," he said. "In New York, we would be first in line to try to get as many immigrants from as many different parts of the world as we could."
Bloomberg blamed what he believes is an inefficient immigration policy on partisan politics in Washington and politicians who are more concerned with getting re-elected than with planning for the country's economic future.
The panel coincided with the release of a new report on immigration from the Partnership for a New American Economy and the Partnership for New York City, which echoed the mayor’s remarks that the country’s immigration policy is out of sync with its economy.
The report, titled “Not Coming to America: Why the U.S. is Falling Behind in the Global Race for Talent” advised granting visas based on the country’s economic needs, including fast-tracking applications from highly educated applicants in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
By 2018, the U.S. will face a shortage of nearly 224,000 of these so-called STEM workers, according to the report.
Bloomberg said immigration reform is also hindered by wide-spread beliefs about immigrants ― like that they’re a drain on healthcare, schools and other public services ― which he said are simply not true.
“Roughly every high tech person you bring in creates two or three jobs at lower wage salaries,” he countered. “Every migrant worker you bring in creates two or three jobs at higher salaries. It’s fascinating ― from both ends, it really does help the middle.”