The U.S. Ad Industry Should Applaud Blocking Of Arizona Immigration Law

Fair warning: I'm going to get on my soapbox ( just this once). This morning, I was very happy to read that a federal judge has temporarily blocked the implementation of key parts of Arizona's new immigration law. This ruling, I believe, is not only a good thing for the country; it is a good thing for the advertising industry as well. Why? Simply because the U.S. is not producing enough technology workers to go around and this debate has a chilling effect on real reform that would assure access to the best and brightest tech minds who want to work in the biggest and best tech market in the world.

However you feel about Arizona's law, and whether or not you believe that it unconstitutionally "marks" all Hispanic-looking people for police stops on suspicion of being illegal, it has certainly polarized the issue across the entire country and has prevented us from tackling much-needed immigration reform. Some may think that fights like the Arizona law are too "political" or divisive for an industry like the advertising industry to get involved with. I think the opposite. Admittedly, I start with a strong personal bias. My wife is Mexican and our two daughters are citizens of both Mexico and the U.S. Of course, given the current demographic trends in the U.S., they won't be so much of a minority much longer.



More important, however, is the fact that like virtually every other major industry today, advertising is finding itself more and more powered by and dependent on technology. Like virtually every other industry today, advertising needs to hire more and more workers trained and savvy in technology-related fields. Like virtually every other industry today, advertising can't find enough of those folks. As virtually all other similarly situated U.S. companies have done over our history -- whether their businesses were in railroads or steel or coal or rocket science or nuclear engineering or medicine -- advertising is going to need to look to immigration to find those workers.

What does the need for immigrant technology workers have to do with the temporary injunction issued against Arizona's new law designed to curb illegal immigration across its border from Mexico? A lot. U.S Senator Chuck Schumer, among others, is championing immigration reform that would give green cards for foreign students who receive graduate degrees in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine) disciplines. However, this legislation has been delayed because of the polarizing effect of the Arizona legislation.

Without rational immigration reform, we are diminishing our chances to help start the next Google (whose co-founder was a Russian immigrant) or Intel (whose founder was Hungarian) or Yahoo (with a co-founder from Taiwan). This list could go on for pages. The impact that those companies have had ---and will continue to have -- on the advertising industry is enormous. I believe that we should all applaud the blocking of Arizona's immigration law. What do you think?

30 comments about "The U.S. Ad Industry Should Applaud Blocking Of Arizona Immigration Law".
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  1. Barbara Rocchi from Sugar, July 29, 2010 at 1:15 p.m.

    This has deeper roots then just allowing people from other countries to live and work here. First, there are rules for a reason. If you want to live here; follow the rules. Enough on that. I go to your comment that we don't have enough people with tech background (ie, brains and education) to keep up with the technology jobs available. Well, where does this problem stem from? Our lousy educational system that continues to get money taken from it and produces graduates that, in your opinion, don't have enough education or brains to do the technology jobs available in this country. It is my belief that you need to start from the ground up (education) so that when kids graduate they have the skills that are needed to work in the country they were born in.

  2. Erika Mitnik-White from Communicus, July 29, 2010 at 1:22 p.m.

    Thank you. As an Arizona resident, I could not agree more. A more rational approach to the problem is sorely needed.

  3. Robert Leathern from, Inc., July 29, 2010 at 1:23 p.m.

    This is a very polarizing issue, Dave, and I applaud you for taking it on. I think there certainly should be rules - as an immigrant myself who has jumped through all the legal hoops and is now a US citizen and runs a decent-sized ad technology startup - but these rules need to be rational and acknowledge the needs of the job/skills market now and in the future. That also means improving the US education system from the ground up. It's not an either/or, and those of us in advertising and technology can help in many ways on all fronts to improve the way things work.

  4. Steve Phelan from Your CMO, July 29, 2010 at 1:23 p.m.

    Your personal biases are blinding you to the basic fact that we are a nation of laws, meaning there is legal and illegal. I have no problem with the country changing its immigration policies--it would be a good thing. BUT, until it does, I have no problem with making it harder for illegal aliens to be in this country. If the idiots and cowards in Washington won't do their jobs, the least they can do is get out of the way of state governments that are willing to.

  5. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, July 29, 2010 at 1:31 p.m.

    Having published over 27,000 sweepstakes on Sweepstakes Today, ONLY one sweep I can recall allowed Mexicans to enter along with Americans. The reason, the rule of law.

    Advertisers DO NOT and WILL NOT honor a foreign country's judcial system of law if their is a dispute that araises.

    The advertisers will also go a step futher in the sweepstakes rules by asking for legal proof of residency and tax ID if you win a big prize. It is the advertiser/sweepstakes sponsor who is responsible for sending out the 1099-MISC if the prize is valued over $600.00.

    So in the end, the advertising industry has to respect the laws of the country they do business in. Mainly per this discussion is the USA.

  6. Teresa Payne from Targetscope, July 29, 2010 at 1:35 p.m.

    You implied the Arizona law "marks all Hispanic-looking people for police stops on suspicion of being illegal". That couldn't be further from the truth. The AZ law has specific safeguards in it in order to prevent racial profiling. Only when police are investigating a crime can they then ask for identification/papers to determine the legality of those involved. In addition, the Arizona law is less strict than the federal illegal immigration law and was merely a restatement of that law thus giving those powers to the state. And finally, the horrible situation along the border, i.e. murdered AZ rancher, gun-fights in Ciudad Juarez, coyote smuggling and rapes, drug cartels, etc. warrants some sort of action which the federal government is unwilling or unable to provide.

  7. Rick Courtney from Brainstominc, July 29, 2010 at 2:08 p.m.

    You have helped me think a little deeper about this subject and the real world ramifications of this type of legislation......thanks

  8. Derek Vogel from Vogel Designs, July 29, 2010 at 2:10 p.m.

    There is a fairly huge disconnect in the author's logic. If Arizona were being overrun by East Indians and Chinese who were climbing the walls of Intel, HP, Motorola and others to get jobs, then I'd agree. No disrespect to his wife, but Arizona is being overrun by Mexicans who are draining the state's resources costing the state (and country) billions. The Arizona law simply cracks down on ILLEGAL immigration. It in no way punishes the legal immigrants. Period. The ad industry (and every other industry) should be ashamed that our government has just encouraged Mexicans to break our federal laws. If the ad industry wants to take a stand on this issue, then they should lobby Congress to enforce the borders so that only the "best and brightest" get in and really help the ad industry and economy as a whole.

  9. Don Mitchell from Freelance Media Professional, July 29, 2010 at 2:12 p.m.

    The fact we need "immigrant technology workers" is more of a failure of out education system than it is of our immigration laws.

  10. Darrin Dickey from Passport to History, July 29, 2010 at 2:13 p.m.

    Awesome! So our threshold for upholding a law is the convenience factor. We need tech workers, so we'll ignore federal immigration law. That's great because those federal truth in advertising laws, not to mention FTC regulations, are damned inconvenient. We should just ignore them and advertise as we please. Those laws and regulations have the same purpose as the immigration laws, to protect US citizens. So we should just be able to as blindly ignore them as well.

    Excuse me, I'm off to make a few ads about how great cigarettes are for your health.

  11. Mike Loomis from Eastco Worldwide, July 29, 2010 at 2:19 p.m.

    Agree - we need a sane immigration policy. Not to diminish your point, but you contend the AZ law "prevented us from tackling much-needed immigration reform".

    How has the law prevented the president and congress from tackling this issue? They've had 19 months. Perhaps our elected leaders have been more concerned with influencing votes than making real change.

  12. Peter Gimber from CBS4Boston, July 29, 2010 at 2:49 p.m.

    With respect, I completely disagree with your premise, and as an aside, the fact that your wife and children are Mexican has nothing to do with the debate on Illegal immigration. The debate really is not about Mexicans, it is about people from any country coming into the US and staying illegally.The net effect is a huge burden on our public services such as education, health care, housing, insurance,and law enforcement. The Arizona law is not perfect, but we have to start somewhere to stem the tide of illegal aliens. People from other countries are welcome in The US, as long as the proper citizenship channels are followed.

  13. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, July 29, 2010 at 3:05 p.m.

    You are speaking of 2 different issues. On one hand Americans are the lazy ones and stupid. Lazy in the responsibilty of adults and parents with their attitude towards enforcing education excellence beginning with making their kids do their homework and respect teachers whether they like them or think they are fair or not. There are plenty of people to educate here. But on the other hand, the "keep them poor and stupid" helps regulate the masses which is a whole other discussion.

    As for immigration, we all have immigrant roots. Our grandparents, great-grandparents and further back did not have to do what is expected now to immigrate to America. They filled out a form at best.

    If there is so much concern about too many people draining the system as well there should be, then birth control for everyone who lives here must be strengthened. And all of those fat and obsese people really need to see what the fat does to their essential organs and what it costs to support that. Then there is that illegal drug problem. Who doesn't know, admittingly or not, that home grown "Americans" who decide to use the imported substances are responsible for cartels and violence as well as a blood sucking drain on the "system"? 4 times in ineffective treatment does not end the "suck".

    An immigration solution can be found, but those who can do not want to do it. If there was an agreed upon (by most anyway) solution, then what would keep those who are fighting it busy? Who would they choose to exclude? History is in their favor. Where are the employers who pay $45 per day - or less - mouthing off about employment verification, or child labor? Where are the huge employer influencers? The "Wall Streeters"? Has anyone with the financial background to publish and push how much the top 1% of the U.S. profit from the illegal workers in their invested companies?

    If those who believe citizenship needs to be earned then don't we all need to earn it? Shouldn't we all be required to learn all of the divisions of power of all governmental levels, who holds those offices and how to obtain them? Shouldn't we all be required to learn our history without distortion? Should we not use platitudes and names we do not know what they are? (Communism is bad? What is it and why is it so it can be prevented. What part of a family's economy is communistic?)

    The Arizona law was written from the bottom of fear, not for solution. Then again, that's where religion began.

  14. Arlo Laitin from Cardlytics, Inc, July 29, 2010 at 3:31 p.m.

    Thank you Dave, a very thought provoking piece. I'm always amazed at the Xenophobia that still exists in our country, and the ignorance to recent history. While I agree with many of the comments about the need to enforce the law, and to pass comprehensive immigration reform, the parts of the law that were struck down were done so for a fairly good reason.

    According to the AP: 'The decision, handed down by district court judge Susan Bolton, suspends the parts of the law that order immigrants to carry their papers at all times and require law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of individuals they've pulled over for other reasons...."

    Folks, if that is not unconstitutional, than I don't know what is. This DOES have an affect on legal immigrants, and I would argue, on all citizens. Stop watching Fox News, and start thinking for yourself. We are a nation of laws, but we are also an open democracy, and a beacon of light to the rest of the world. If that ends, it will have a chilling effect on our industry, and our nation.

  15. Derek Vogel from Vogel Designs, July 29, 2010 at 3:40 p.m.

    Arlo - What's the first question you are asked when you get pulled over by a cop? You are COMPLETELY wrong on your point. As citizens, we are required to prove our identity and citizenship on a daily basis. There is nothing unconstitutional about it. It's the law.

  16. Arlo Laitin from Cardlytics, Inc, July 29, 2010 at 4:06 p.m.


    The question you are asked is license and registration. Not, proof of citizenship and registration. They are two different things, as a handful of States do not even require proof of citizenship to obtain a license. If this was already "the law", then why would AZ, along with several other cities and States, have to pass this in the first place?

  17. Derek Vogel from Vogel Designs, July 29, 2010 at 5:12 p.m.

    Arlo - That's just one example. Have you flown anywhere in the last 10 years? Used a credit card lately? Your ID is required to do just about anything these days. Isn't the protesting of being asked to provide proof of citizenship really because illegals are pretty dang happy about being able to come and go as they please? What's the harm in asking? If you're a citizen, then you have nothing to worry about.

    I went to college in Arizona. I have a bunch of relatives there. They passed the bill because Phoenix is the kidnapping capitol of the US because of illegals pouring over their borders. They passed this bill to do what the federal gov't has refused to do - ENFORCE THE LAW.

  18. Gary Stogner from Tourism Marketing 360, July 29, 2010 at 5:28 p.m.

    The lack of technical expertise in this country has more to do with a faltering education system than a state (Arizona) desperately wanting to enforce federal immigration laws that those in Washington DC ignore simply for political gain.

    We out spend the world in education. The results -- the intellectual equivalent to a Ford Pinto.

    Forget immigration reform -- that's another term for pandering. Enforce the laws we have. Education reform is far more critical need.

  19. Arlo Laitin from Cardlytics, Inc, July 29, 2010 at 5:33 p.m.

    "What's the harm in asking? If you're a citizen, then you
    have nothing to worry about."

    Derek, please see the 4th amendment. If you honestly believe that U.S. citizens should have to carry around proof of citizenship wherever they go, and we should be OK with being asked for this, then you and I live in a different country. History is not kind to your view

  20. Derek Vogel from Vogel Designs, July 29, 2010 at 5:42 p.m.

    Yup, Arlo. We do live in different countries. I'm simply trying to preserve the one that our forefathers created. You clearly want something more, dare I say, socialist? And as for asking for ID - dude - wake up. You're asked all the time now. Take a peek at the issues Europe is having with illegal immigration. None of the lefties in the US seem to have a problem with those countries requiring proof of citizenship.

  21. Joe Kutchera, July 29, 2010 at 5:54 p.m.

    Bravo. Case in point: I tried to hire a bilingual Mexican for an ad serving/ad operations position in NYC. The NAFTA "professional worker" requirements were written in 1992, before the Internet so none of those "new" interactive advertising job descriptions are included in the list of positions that can be "fast tracked" for approval. It took over nine months for her work visa to be approved, and that was considered "fast." Do we need immigration reform? Yes.

  22. Jonathan McEwan from MediaPost, July 29, 2010 at 6:04 p.m.

    Derek/Arlo: First, you don't get arrested for not having ID when you fly or use your credit card, you just don't fly or buy the pricey item you desire. And yes, citizens who happen to look Mexican and don't have papers in their pocket are definitely affected. Think about it.

  23. Arlo Laitin from Cardlytics, Inc, July 29, 2010 at 6:22 p.m.


    Your jump to 'socialism' is quite telling, as you must be a proud member of GlenBeckistan. Nothing to do with this column, or my response to your posts. So, "dude", I would study the meaning of the word before you use it, and realize that our forefathers were most definitely against the police state that you seem to yearn for. Please study history before commenting

  24. Derek Vogel from Vogel Designs, July 29, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.


    Arlo - LOOK! Keith Olberman!

  25. Derek Vogel from Vogel Designs, July 29, 2010 at 6:37 p.m.

    Jonathan - good point. You only get arrested for breaking the law.

    Oops... I forgot... sneaking into our country is breaking the law...

    BTW, the federal law that has been in effect for about 20 years, requires you to provide proof of citizenship, if asked. But some laws are just pesky, so we'll ignore those...

  26. Michael Senno from New York University, July 29, 2010 at 9:45 p.m.

    Dave, I think your commentary is way off-line. Relating this complex political issue to the advertising industry is a stretch. Without providing a stance on the issue, last check, we have many unemployed US citizens, some of whom I'm sure could fill those technology roles you mention. Further, competency within this country is an independent topic from immigration laws affecting Mexico and our Southern states (though, I understand, with wider implications).

  27. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia, July 29, 2010 at 11:40 p.m.

    I am very happy to see so many comments. To be clear, here are thoughts that I did not directly address in the column. I believe that illegal immigration across the border justifies federal authorities intervening and deporting as appropriate. However, we don't lack for criminal statutes, we lack for enforcement. The AZ law put federal enforcement at the state level. That was extra-Constitutional, which is why is has been blocked. To suggest that it was not discriminatory is ridiculous. Requiring people to carry government ID papers does not exist in America and should not. The Schumer immigration reform legislation was held up so as not to add more feul to the fire that the AZ law caused. If everyone would take a breath, they would realize that all is the US are immigrants, and almost none of our ancestors were subject to street-level search for legal "papers". That is the polarization that I decry.

  28. Ariel Stiglitz from Vindico Group, July 30, 2010 at 10:29 a.m.

    Thank you Dave - While this issue obviously has much wider connotations, your insight into the effects that a rushed or badly thought out immigration policy could have on the makeup of our industry is highly thought-provoking. I'm not surprised that the reactions this article has stirred seem more like personal rants than intelligent commentary regarding the industry. This passion in itself serves as an example of the need for reform.
    Your article made me ponder the moral considerations at stake in the Arizona law and its connections to our industry. Most would agree that the strongest foundational support for our industry comes from the “good old American consumer”. An estimated 12-15 million of these consumers currently happen to be undocumented. This does not affect their ability to buy Clorox at Walmart, Pampers for their babies, iPhones for their teenagers. Our industry is even fueled by the immigrant, as seen in the recent explosion in Hispanic(Latino) Marketing, driven purely by the effects of decades of Latino immigration and the immigrants themselves. This market does not target only Latinos with social security numbers. Advertising instead targets what is shared by all of us - families, emotions, personal aspirations. An immigration reform centered on these similarities would be much more beneficial to our nation than a reactionary measure based on fear, bigotry or entitlement.

  29. Fj Rich from chase media group, August 1, 2010 at 5:57 p.m.

    This is a tough one. You make a reasonable argument, but given your personal stake objectivity is at risk. no matter, unless you have a crystal ball none can tell where the next google will comes from. Even if from Mexico, what are you sacrificing in the gambit--the law?

    illegal means illegal. What argument would you make should it affect you even more personally? There are always solutions w/i the law, or anarchy is your final reasoning.

  30. Todd Brewster from Media Buying Decisions, August 17, 2010 at 10:41 p.m.

    Your arguement is essentially that you had a friend who was raped by her uncle and the child will be deformed and the birth will kill the mother so lets make abortions legal. I could live with 300 abortions a year. 300 a month I think is murder. 300 a week is a holocaust! There are now 3-5,000 abortions a week. That is insane and I don't care if you are a liberal or conservative, you have to agree.

    There are hundreds possibly even thousands of hard working illegal Mexicans in the US. The problem is that illegals are getting free relief, free healthcare, free educations and a number who committ felonies are deported yet they come right back and commit crimes again. The ilegals are bankrupting this country. I think the law in AZ should be applauded. Is there racial profiling in advertising? Yes I am a media buyer and this is my job to identify it. We call it target marketing. Will there be racial profiling in weeding out the illegals? You bet there is and there will continue to be especially if there is an influx of blue eye blond hair Scandanavians infiltrating OUR country.

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