Terry Connelly is dean of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University and is frequently quoted on business, financial, and economic issues by Bay Area local, as well as national, news media.
Like nature abhors a vacuum, business abhors uncertainty. And legitimate business abhors a black market, whether in goods or services or currency- – or people.
The current focus on a potential Federal legislative resolution of the ongoing US debate about immigration policy directly addresses the “black market” in human traffic that characterizes immigration reality today. In that sense, without getting into specifics, the bipartisan effort to achieve an agreeable solution that works for a’’ is clearly a “pro-business” move that merits applause for its objective, if not support for each of it specific terms.
The proposed compromise legislation has, of course been attacked in terms of its specifics by advocates for interest groups on all sides of the immigration issue, and this has been mega-phoned by national media obsessed with framing debate and dialog from the extremes. Proponents for “the left” and “the right” are booked to slug it out: rarely, if ever, is a spokesperson invited “for the center”, and increasingly the press does not play that role either. This pattern is unfortunately being followed in the case of the new immigration proposals, while the much–discussed national yearning for unity and a “sensible center” is left largely without an advocate.Business, in terms of its best interests, needs to be that advocate – - not for any particular policy formula perhaps, but for the proposition that a compromise solution to our immigration black market must be found.Black markets tend to develop when the formal market becomes disconnected from reality. The free marketplace has informed us that our economy has a need for almost 12 million foreign-born persons that our regulatory structure will not admit. Certainly this mismatch has been an open invitation to exploitation – - that’s what a “black market” is all about.Even the government (and by extension, the US taxpayer) has been a beneficiary of this black market: all those social security taxes paid against false social security numbers don’t just disappear into the ether.At the same time, we are all subject to the adverse effects of a black market situation. Nearly a quarter of all drivers in the State of
California, for example – - a State broadly impacted by undocumented workers and their families – - are without insurance, and often also without a drivers license. All citizens of
California pay the price, in terms of higher insurance premiums, for this aspect of the immigration black market.There are many positive economic effects of immigration are negative, of course: Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, has pointed out that three out of ten new job-creating businesses in the Valley are started by foreign-born persons. The proposed new legislation charts a middle way in terms of the annual H1-b skilled worker Visa program, which Silicon Valley wishes to see expanded – - adding 50,000 new openings annually, up from the current 65,000 level, which was exhausted on one morning!An even bigger win for businesses would be a successful overall fix of what all sides, even the extremes, concede is a broken immigration regime. Beyond the positive effects of such an outcome on the black market aspects of this situation, a successful policy solution would also give hope for a resolution of an even bigger problem for US business—the broken
US health care system, which has its own “black market” aspects that Michael Moore is surely not alone in pointing out.