Thursday, June 8Welcome

Why aren’t business leaders more vocal about immigration policy?

U.S. Immigration Photos(iStockphoto/miscellaneous goods photo)

Most people agree that US immigration policy is a mess. Sometimes it’s even difficult to know what it is.

Differences in immigration policies divide us as a country and create a lot of misinformation. As a result, more than 10 million people live permanently in the United States as illegal immigrants or illegal immigrants. What you call them seems to depend somewhat on your political leanings.

Another result is that borders, especially in the south, are more open than many would like, but not as open as some claim. Tens of thousands of loyal, hardworking, and often underrecognized government workers trying to implement the latest immigration policies are caught in a dilemma.

Immigration needs the United States. It remains the world’s most attractive destination for the politically or economically oppressed. What is lost in this conversation is how much America needs immigrants. We need their youth, their willingness to work in any job, their productivity, their contribution to the Social Security system weighed down by America’s aging population, and of course their skills. Consider the huge skimming effect that followed. This benefits the United States while reducing the talent pool in countries with the fewest opportunities.

Few groups are more vilified and poorly portrayed than our immigration pool. This he has been doing for over a century. At the moment, the focus is on people crossing the border to apply for asylum without “queuing up” for fully documented or legal entry. (As economist Tara Watson and author Curry Thompson point out in their recent book, it is more accurate to say that under current policies there are no boundaries.)

They have been characterized as potential sources of disease, drugs, gangs, crime, and more. The crimes they commit are specially publicized. Still, common sense and the data we have do not support that claim. These are the best of the best who were willing and able to leave their country and end up in ours. They will be here under very tenuous circumstances. One wrong step and an undocumented or illegal person will be deported. As a result, data from reliable sources suggests that crime rates are much lower than those of us who are already citizens.

My concern here is not political or broken policy issues, but whether business leaders have enough “voice” on issues affecting their talent pool and the overall rate of growth of the U.S. economy. The question is whether the United States currently has a very low unemployment rate, over four million, and millions of employers debating how much they want to work. It arises when you can ask if you’re over that talent pool. their post-pandemic life.

Despite the fact that the United States has granted legal permanent residency to approximately one million people annually for the past two decades, there are unfilled jobs. As a result, the percentage of the U.S. population that is foreign-born has nearly tripled in the last 50 years for as long as you can count, and the last time we saw it was at her level around 1900.

There is one business “community” that tracks these situations and takes advantage of them closely. It’s high tech. My colleague William Carr has written extensively about efforts by various means to ensure an adequate flow of technical talent into the country. Other industry leaders, however, seemed reluctant to influence the debate on issues related to immigration policy.

While I can understand why it is not in an organization’s best interest to be complicit in every problem facing society, this is an issue that can directly impact an organization’s performance. It’s controversial. However, the health of a country’s economy is highly dependent on a rational and rational approach to the best opportunities that the business community can offer.

Why aren’t business leaders more vocal about immigration policy? What do you think?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.


  • William R. Carr The gift of global talent: how immigrants shape business, economies and societies (Stanford Business Books, 2021).
  • Tara Watson and Callie Thompson, The Border Within: The economics of immigration in times of terror (University of Chicago Press, 2022)

What do you think of last month’s column?

Are managers underestimating the need for face-to-face contact?

Managers understand the need for face-to-face (f2f) contact, but are still evaluating. A variety of hybrid working arrangements are the answer, along with making your precious f2f time more effective.

Penelope (Penny) Vodanborg commented: They often travel to remote locations for conversations that can be conducted remotely more effectively and economically. ”

William Ryan also talks about the need to plan quality face-to-face time: Is it for managers to hear information and talk about plans that are in the light, or why teammates are involved to connect, network and create with each other?

Personal experiences have varied. Jacob Navon said: It’s like “live at work”. ”

Stephanie reports: “Team building and communication in virtual environments presents a new set of challenges that require a whole new set of interpersonal skills,” said William Cotringer.

Katherine Lawrence reminded us that for decades we have lost the “community level”. We didn’t readjust how we achieved that.” She pointed out that some see this as a cost, while others see it as a savings.

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