The New Immigration – Emotional issue or Good Business for all of us?


Borrowed from The Center for Advanced Studies (Univ. of Illinois - Champaign.(

Recently I had a discussion on LinkedIn with a colleague I admire and respect, Joan Eisenstodt.  It was related to whether or not the issue around the recent law passage in Arizona merits a big session.  There was commenting around the legal issues if a group decided to boycott/pullout/cancel.

To me, the only big question, and perhaps only question, legally would be is it force majeure?

As a legal issue, I think it lacks attractiveness (to me).   The citizens of Arizona voted how they wanted to vote, and like all our decisions, will need to now address the consequences/reactions of others.

As an issue related to its impact on the employee base of many of the industries/companies that support this industry, I think it has a more interesting impact.

PCMA held an “Executive Edge” program in 2006 at the University of Pennsylvania/Wharton School of business.  Dr. Joel Siegel, who was presenting, talked about this issue 4 years ago at that event, and our need to readdress our immigration policy, not because of the social issues alone, but really because of broader issues that (I believe) will affect our membership across the country and for years to come.

That issue being one of financial security.  As you start your career and grow up in business you accumulate cash, which you use to purchase assets (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc). When you retire, you need to sell those assets and replace them with cash to live on, hopefully for a higher amount than you paid. The problem facing those of us headed toward retirement in the next decade or so is that the labor pool behind us is smaller (U.S. Citzenry). Thus, there will be less buyers. When there are less buyers, price drops as we learned in Econ 101. Thus, the value of our portfolios will be less, as the buyer will be king.

For these reasons, it will be important to have new citizenry (not illegals, but citizenry) that grows that labor pool, increases the number of buyers of our portfolios, and thus raises the value of that portfolio.

His point, an economic one, brings new and “more reasonable” argument to how a new stance on immigration is necessary to improve the process  by which a person interested in citizenry can achieve citzenry.  We still  need a process, but perhaps a process that even our own citizenry can pass.  From what I’ve read and heard, I’m not sure I could pass a citizenship test if one was dropped on my desk in front of me right now.

To me, that’s more attractive than the “Can I cancel or not” because my board wants to know what it would cost to cancel.  Living in a border state, Texas, perhaps we are more aware on a daily basis of the issue of illegal immigration.  However, I believe, for the reasons Dr. Siegel described, a discussion about what the essential,  important elements of citizenship are and a process by which that is taught and reinforced would be of benefit for discussion by us all.


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