At a CNN town hall Wednesday night, Michael Bloomberg said it is necessary to give undocumented immigrants a "clear path to citizenship" in a policy that includes stapling a green card to every degree. Bloomberg also weighed in on China and how a war with the country would not be in the best interest of the United States.
"We should get used to the fact that China is going to keep growing and become stronger, and we have to figure out a way to work with them while protecting our industries and protecting our country militarily," Bloomberg said.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: All right, I want you to meet -- over here, this is Morgan Eppley. She's a student at the College of Charleston. She's still undecided.
QUESTION: Hi, Mayor Bloomberg.
FORMER NYC MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Hi.
QUESTION: As president, how would you enforce human rights policies, such as China's persecution of Muslims, despite potential economic pressures that may arise?
At the end of the day, would you put human rights first or the American economy?
BLOOMBERG: Well, I don't know that it's...
BLOOMBERG: Number one, it's a disgrace, their human rights policies.
And it's not just against the Uyghurs. It's other ethnic groups in China, typically all in the north-northwest part of China. And we should try to pressure them to stop it.
I think it's also unrealistic to say that we are going to stop doing business with China, for a few reasons. Number one, the biggest problem facing the world is climate change, because it can kill us all.
And China is a very big part of that solution so you have to have relations with them and try to convince them, and they’ve got to be part of the solution, otherwise we can cut all of the greenhouse gases out of America, but China and India are so big that you really still have almost as big a problem as if we didn’t do it.
And also the American economy and the Chinese economy are linked -- you don’t realize how many products that you buy are either made there or how much and many (ph) products we manufacture here are sold there.
So it’s just unrealistic to think that we’re going to stop doing business with China, but it is not unrealistic to try to pressure them into doing things on human rights -- but it’s not just human rights, they steal intellectual property, I don’t think there’s any question about that.
They are very unfair in treaties, in the way we do business. We can’t own something there, they can own it in our country. A lot of the students who come here to study and get degrees -- we are letting them go back to China, we should try to keep them here.
One of the things in immigration is you’ve got to do some things quickly in immigration, get rid -- stop this craziness with 11 million people who are living in the shadows, you’ve got to give them a clear path to citizenship.
You’ve got to staple a green card on every degree when they get out of college, particularly if they’re studying STEM, I mean, there are a whole bunch of these things, and we need more immigrants, not less immigrants -- and a lot of them come from China.
COOPER: Just to follow-up, last night you were criticized by some (ph) on the stage --
BLOOMBERG: I’m shocked, I was criticized?
COOPER: Yeah, so it seemed that, you might have noticed. That, by -- because you had said that the Chinese leader is not a dictator, do you stand by that, that he’s not a dictator?
BLOOMBERG: Well it’s a question of what is a dictator. They don’t have democratic -- a democracy in the sense that they have general elections, that is true. They do have a system where a small group of people appoint the head, and they churn over periodically.
If you go back and look at the last two or three decades there’ve been a number of people that had the same position that Xi Jinping has. I think the question is, if your definition is a democracy where people vote and pick their leaders, that is not what China’s about and they don’t seem to want it.
They like their system, and I think they’re wrong. I think they’d be better off opening things up, having freedom of the press, which they don’t have, having lots of different cultures come in -- that’s the great strength of America, they don’t seem to think that.
And I think we should work as hard as we can to change that, but you’re not going to war and try to force them. It is the second biggest economic power, and we should get used to the fact that China is going to keep growing and become stronger, and we have to figure out a way to work with them while protecting our industries and protecting our country militarily.