Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I don't do this very often, but... very good friend and I wrote an article in the current issue of Forbes that, while it isn't perfect, I'm proud to say that I think it provides a bit of a counterpoint to the anti-immigrant sentiment that's currently dominating the immigration debate. It's in the current issue of the magazine, which is now on stands. I'd link, but I can't seem to remember my own username and password to the site maintained by my own employer.

I readily admit that one flaw is that we don't deal with the exploitation of illegal workers, which is a dismaying and real problem. But, I think we were the first to deal with the issue by covering the entire spectrum of the economy, from highly skilled technical workers to the essential workers in crafts, trades and service professions. I also think that we've made a good case for expanding, rather than restricting, opportunities for people to become American citizens and that we've made a good economic argument in favor of the view that there's a shortage of workers throughout the American economy and that we'll all benefit by finding ways to welcome immigrants.

We write very highly of guest worker programs in the piece. One bit of nuance I'll add here is that, at least on a personal level (I don't think this quite comes through in the article) my hope is that guest worker programs would provide a path towards citizenship for those who want it. Honestly, some don't. Mexico has no mortgage banking industry to speak of, for example, for a big reason for people to come here and work for awhile is to amass enough money to finance the purchase of a house in Mexico. A good portion of economic migrants to the US want to build savings for use back home. For them, a temporary worker program is ideal. But, as we all know, work and a long stay abroad can lead to people building roots where they are. I'd like them to be able to stay, and vote, and be protected by our government, should they choose that path.


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