Immigration, Nationalism and Equality

Immigration, Nationalism and Equality



in March 2016 in the middle of the election you know buzz and turmoil or as it was gaining steam Bloomberg News published a fantastic graphic you know why voters will stay angry okay we looked at you know certain metrics including the global middle class getting poorer youth being worse off and immigration making people really anxious so those are just three the metrics we looked at and so it's been almost exactly three years to the day and nothing's changed okay so just to take a look at you know global youth unemployment for inferences is still excessive if you look at student debt it's off the charts and a majority of people are still worried about immigration they will get that that last graphic up there we go to student debt in immigration so so I guess my question really to the three of you that when you think about the work that you do what's changed from that moment in March 2016 and to now take us a little bit quickly beyond the numbers Sydney thank you for having me first and foremost Jackie I will tell you that as the CEO of an organization whose goal is to protect and defend the Latino community we've certainly seen a lot we've seen an increase in hate crimes we've seen an increase in terms of attacks that are anti-hispanic anti-latino we've seen an increase of fear in our communities and I just want you to think of the rhetoric that we hear daily every single day and how that it's impacting subconsciously all of our communities across the country I would say that what's most interesting to me is that what hasn't changed is the environment it discrimination and particularly around immigrants and immigration is driven by the fear if you're vilifying a group of people then you can sustain that fear and I think it's been sustained for political purposes rather than really trying to create a society and environment that realizes we've always been a nation of immigrants nobody took their jobs the jobs may have gone away but that whole conversation I just heard the tail-end of how are we gonna get people into jobs of the future and they're using it as an excuse to really preserve their own agenda so what's change has kind of gotten worse no Ollie you know as head of the National Immigration forum which advocates for immigration to this country when you think about things that are going on around us globally like the UK teeter-tottering on the edge of an accent from the European Union you had that horror of horrific mock massacre in New Zealand of a mosque and you've got yellow vests protesters in France you know on a weekly basis which nation if any can one look to for inspiration you know when it comes to striking that balance around political rhetoric and an equitable immigration policy well I think that I mean look this issue of migration global migration is going to remain above the fold for decades to come right now you've got 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes you have 250 million people who are living outside of their home country and all this leads to this fear and anxiety that plays out in all these places in all these countries and communities so the easy answer is a place like Canada I think Canada is really strong worked hard to welcome immigrants integrate immigrants and now they're working really hard to steal the immigrants from the US and welcome them to Canada to start their businesses but I would also make the case for a place like Idaho reddest state in the country Idaho dairyman Association or were the first ones in Idaho to protect the refugee community in the state they're out there making the case locally as a state level nationally of why immigrants refugees help everybody in Idaho prosper so I think there are examples at a global level but there are also examples here in the u.s. looking great I mean Canada it's great you mentioned that because it's interesting in the sense that it's having its biggest influx of immigrants in more than a century okay and it's also taking visa you know u.s. visa rejects putting them in their best schools and giving them a chance to start businesses that contribute to that economy and and I wonder Jan you know with that in mind what kind of discussions are happening within the US Chamber of Commerce of which you remember around this question of staying relevant staying competitive when we close our borders and I would note I'm their token member their token Democrat was their token woman for a long time but what's really interesting about the conversation that's taking place at the u.s. chamber is it's divided the membership generally the chamber agrees on everything but on the question of immigration they do not and I think they're almost overwhelmingly Pro immigration because they understand this is the future of their businesses this is their workforce and what's happening in the country is putting that in jeopardy and so you're seeing a very different voice emerge from the United States the Chamber of Commerce I would also mention when you look I mean Nevada one in five of our citizens are immigrants twenty-five percent of our workforce are minority immigrants so you know I think we're a very good story as well so business is unified on this idea that oh absolutely interesting you know Cindy in our pre talk you know we we you mentioned you know this is a country built on immigration immigrant labor and immigrants have built and expanded industries like you know in tech innovation and I wondered you know from your your vantage how do we get back to this sentiment of pride and and openness I think it comes down to changing the narrative and understanding our history a history that oftentimes is not told in the history books or taught to our own children and the fact is that immigrants are 5.6 percent of the workforce were 15 percent of the income earners that in California we pay more than 25 percent of local and state taxes that in places like New York and New Jersey we pay close to the same amount 25 percent in local and state taxes and that our contributions are great but also the American story and and I wanted to pause and share that you know I was brought to this country at the age of one undocumented from Honduras from San Pedro Sula which is which has the highest murder rate per capita in the world and walking in south-central when every day my mom would drop me off at school because they were undocumented she would tell me aha you know please remember to call your aunt Rosita if we don't come to pick you up and I just want the audience to think about the fear and the trauma that this places and our children and our future Americans and and you know I tell that story because only in this country can you have an immigrant like myself who picked up cans in the streets of Los Angeles and clean houses become the CEO of the largest and oldest national Latino store it's organization in the country this is the American dream and I think also specially when we look at our corporations and our different workforce sectors it's looking at our agricultural sector where we're more than 46 percent that you know should something should they all be deported and you go to the grocery stores you will find empty shelves it's because the workforce is not there to backfilled and that were also a major component of construction in building this country and there's individuals like Albert Einstein who are immigrants and so many others that have contributed to innovation and technology in making this country what it is today I just wanted to break a little bit and ask the audience if they would take their phones out I just want to do one quick poll and this is actually guide in my conversation so I appreciate if you take part I'm gonna ask just pick one of three factors that you think will most polarize electorates in coming years when you're thinking about immigration policy so social media AI slash automation climate change huh social media okay so so I want to get to the social media point but I also want to talk about artificial intelligence and automation technology because we we had a CEO of a global tech firm in our offices recently and we asked him sort of the usual you know what keeps you up at night and you know I thought he was gonna say you know my share price or P&L he said you know AI keeps me up at night because it risks making an already imbalanced world that less equal and intellectual horsepower and the data benefit a spectrum of the population so I'm just gonna ask of any of you really does the immigration to be become that much more difficult at a time when people worry that a computer can do their job or they don't have the skills to navigate a digitized economy I think Jack yet we think about this at the very core of the question its economic security in the fact is that wages have remained stagnant that the earnings for the middle class have remained stagnant and so in thinking of the framing of the question it's really thinking about economic security and those poor poor factors that are involved including technology and involvement evolvement of Technology and displacement in the displacing workers I think there's a opportunity here for corporate America to not just understand how artificial intelligence is changing the economy and changing how Americans perceive work but also how corporate America is helping Americans understand how the country is changing so about a year ago we can't we started something called the corporate roundtable for the new American workforce it's co-chaired by Chobani and and Walmart Driscoll's Barry's as part of it or number you know talking to many others but they were working together to say okay how do we explain to the American public at a national level but more importantly at a local level what this looks like and then you know with driverless cars right lyft in the news a lot for their upcoming IPO yesterday they released a new is that an English language learning program that we're working with them on to train their drivers to improve their English language skills is part of their social investment so they're saying as a company we're going to invest in our workers we're gonna invest not just training the foreign-born workforce but others so that our customers have a better experience and it's those kinds of steps that I think corporate America can take to help the public understand how not just the nation is changing but how the narrative needs to change I think you still have to look at both public education both at beginning in an elementary level to secondary to college if you're still telling students you're gonna go to college you're gonna get a degree and you're gonna get a job then they're gonna end up angry and frustrated because there's no opportunity you're gonna have to change the way your training your students the skills are giving them and having that done in alignment with corporate America and where we see jobs going and more quickly on that can what can you say about your role working as an executive Caesars Entertainment how you approach that well you know it's Caesars Entertainment we look at immigration and immigration policy and how we can support our workforce particularly those that are looking to become citizens but I do it more I chaired the public education foundation and I think the public education in this country today is inherently flawed and how we're both teaching and testing and training so just to since the audience picked climate is the least thing that's polarizing or gonna galvanize electorates I wanted to bring this into the discussion because you know the one thing our government team did when they looked at that angry voters chart from 2016 they said there's one new thing we would add to the mix and that's climate not only because of its you know it's galvanizing young people and people generally in a new way but it also has a has a point it's really to immigration so climate refugees are not a new thing but extreme weather does exasperate migration trends and in all in already impoverished nations where does climate does climate fit into this discussion where you're I think it fits and to your point that severe climate it is driving immigration both in our country in other countries but I still go back to social media when you're listening to what you want to hear and what you're hearing is making you angry and afraid that's kind of galvanized how do you so you know a lot of the conversation these days is about Central America and Central American migrants seeking asylum in the United States when you look at the data in a place like Honduras you know the majority of that economy is driven by agriculture the majority or agricultural crops are climate dependent bananas coffee so when there's a hurricane when there's a drought there are a lot of people are put out of work they go to the cities there's no opportunity for the cities in the cities and they have a choice they can pay a smuggler ten thousand dollars or they can join together in safety and go to another country to seek seek protection you know climate change is going to continue to be a huge push factor you know frankly practically next door to the US I would add Jackie that I completely agree in the sense that what we're looking at our borders is the symptom of a problem and that we have to address the root causes of that push factor whether it's the environment and climate change or whether it's the the democracies and the governance of the countries and having the jobs in place to be able to keep the population in place as well as the safety nurse I wanted to put myself in this question actually you know there's this adage the last one and shut the door so so I live in the UK and and during the brexit vote there were pockets within the immigrant communities who supported the UK leaving that you because they said they didn't want more Eastern Europeans coming in which is like you know interesting so you know whether it's first generation or sixth generation immigration that we're talking about is there a parallel discussion to be had about the community within the community and how we treat each other on the scale spectrum of sort of immigration and and what works and what doesn't work I think of course Harris I mean I was in discussion with termen of the Latin Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas and the majority of his membership they sort of support building a wall they're fearful they're concerned that more people are coming in and again that they won't have the job opportunities so you would think they would be a natural ally in opposition and in fact they're not so and I a lot of this to me comes down to the politics of it though I mean you look at practice it Brett's had happened because the elected officials failed to do what they were elected to do and that was make a reasoned decision so they left it to the voter who's voting on a motion that's just absurd and the more we do that the further we're going to exacerbate these problems I would say that we're also looking at the propaganda that's coming out in the current political time and that if there's ever been a time when you see that words do matter words matter when you have someone that's a candidate calling an entire nation rapists that matters when you have you know people at the highest level creating fear and people who may be of another nationality or non-citizens creating that lack of tolerance there's a problem and so you know when we look at all those dynamics it's important to make sure that we're very conscious of what we're consuming as consumers whether it's through the media or what we're hearing through our own networks and make sure that we check our own biases and that we're not buying into this and you know when we look at the different generations we we forget that there's so many intersections that within the Hispanic community you have all of the races that you have the intersectionality of afro-latinos and others and it's making sure that we understand those dichotomies and I'm sorry last year we did a 26 living room conversations and conservative suburban and rural communities and we did this in a partnership with an organization out of the UK more uncommon and we found that the American public has three questions when it comes to immigration which I pertains to you know whether you're an American who's been here for generations at American who got here you know ten years ago those three questions cut across culture security and economy culturally our immigrants and refugees integrating our the isolating security are they threats or protectors and from an economic perspective our immigrants and refugees giving or taking as journalists as leaders as advocates if we ignore those questions we're not going to we're just talking to ourselves so for us we're always trying to make the case that immigrants and refugees are protecting Americans and American values giving back to our economy and our communities and ultimately becoming American themselves but we have to keep in mind those fears otherwise voters will stay angry accept that this whole conversation sometimes just all of us are immigrants unless you're American Indian or maybe the three of us left that came on to mates and may power I mean come on fifty percent of Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants second generation Jeff Bezos and Apple what are we talking about you know now we're trying to make some kind of rationalization and excuse for what we all are yeah it doesn't make sense which means something else is driving so unfortunately the clock is winding down but I got to ask you really quickly fragmented you know political candidates out there who is the best place to see through this balance of rhetoric and equitable action well I was a mayor of Las Vegas for eight years so I know a little bit about rough-and-tumble politics but this election is going to be for the hearts and minds of the independence that's who's gonna make the difference and then this is only my opinion I think the only voice that can move those independence into a democratic column is Joe Biden okay Joe Biden any with anyone else I would just agree that just like the midterms of last year was about the the independent moderate voter the 2020 is going to be all about the candidate who can capture that middle and there are gazillions of voters out there who are looking for that message and I would agree you know and I would say something too so keep in mind it's some of the things that are playing in the background like the census and include the inclusion of the citizenship question in the census in the impact of what that means for everyone across this country that's three points Thank You Cindy a gin and only thank you [Applause]

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