posted on February 04, 2013 13:06
Gary is taking a break from blogging. Our guest blogger is Tapster Joe Stewart.
I grew up in Raleigh, graduating from Athens Drive High School in 1982.
The athletic conference (note singular) at the time was the Cap 8 and included (what seemed like) the remote outposts of Fuquay-Varina and Smithfield Selma.
I moved away for a while, and when I returned in 1996 the place had definitely changed, and continues to both in size and diversity of the population.
Just ask state Representative Tom Murry, whose 41st State House District in Wake County contains a significant number of Indian Americans - Morrisville, the heart of Rep. Murry’s district, is home to the Hindu Society of North Carolina.
In fact, Indian Americans are a whopping 16% of the lawful American citizens eligible to cast a ballot for Rep. Murry on election day.
While most attention in recent years has focused on illegal Hispanic immigrants here in North Carolina, Rep. Murry’s district shows there’s actually far more than that one dynamic to discuss on the topic of how immigration impact local communities like his, given the dramatic growth in our State’s foreign-born population (up by 64% since 2000).
The NC Center for International Understanding (full disclosure: they are a client) is hosting a conference (not advancing a particular policy proposal, but rather providing a forum to allow discussion among all points of view – a review of the list of sponsors highlights that fact) on February 28 entitled ‘Immigration Matters’ at the Hunt Library on NCSU Centennial Campus (http://IMforum.eventbrite.com).
It’s proven to be a timely program, given recent calls for federal immigration reform from both Congressional leaders and the White House.
Consider this: the US Chamber, a business advocacy icon, will speak at this event on the need for reforms to our work visa system – it’s hurting US businesses when skilled positions for which no American worker is available go unfilled because guest workers can’t get the visa to come do the job.
And this isn’t just about high-tech, high-skill positions. It’s about all the service sector jobs there simply won’t be enough American-born workers for (think home health care, the folks needed to take care of all us aging Baby Boomers).
A UN population and workforce study released in 2000 projected that by the end of 2103, due in large part to declining birth rates in America, the labor force growth in the United States will be zero, and by 2020 will have a 17 million shortage of working age people for the jobs available.
So there’s a lot to talk about, and Immigration Matters will be a great opportunity to hear from many different voices on this subject.
By the way: when people ask me, as a ‘native,’ if these changes bother me, I always say ‘this was a great part of North Carolina then, but it’s an outstanding corner of the world now.’