“To prevent immigration pressure is. . .very much like preventing the law of gravity.”

– Peter Drucker, Management Challenges for the 21st Century

Amid a firestorm over the potential for racial-profiling, Arizona officials continue to defend their new law cracking down on illegal immigrants.  But Peter Drucker suggested that, law or no law, immigration is an inexorable force.

During a 1981 meeting with Cesar Chavez, he told the United Farm Workers’ leader that “there was no way to suspend” the flow of people crossing the border. The real question, Drucker suggested, was how to ensure that these newcomers—including the undocumented—make “a vital contribution to the U.S.” and become “a great asset.”  More than 20 years later, Drucker (himself an immigrant) was still expressing the hope that immigration would “give America an advantage” over other nations.

In this edition of Drucker Apps, we invite you to join our conversation about the role of immigrants in our economy and society. Weighing in will be Tomás Jiménez, author of Replenished Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity; John Schmitt, co-author of Low Wage Work in the Wealthy World; and a young undocumented woman from Ecuador.

We open things up with this question: Should we focus on trying to prevent the undocumented from living in the U.S.? Or should we concentrate on making sure that everyone who is here, regardless of status, becomes as productive as possible?