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Glassman on Immigration

Article by Robert Asahina February 1, 2013 //   2 minute read

In the keynote speech at the recent conference sponsored by the 4% Growth Project and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, James K. Glassman reminded us that immigration policy is, in the end, about people. For all the talk of visas and borders, GDP and green cards, the contribution that immigrants make to America relates to human capital, with the emphasis on the word "human." Glassman, the founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute, told his audience that, "like many of you – probably most of you," he was a child of immigrants, "practically fresh off the boat." His paternal grandfather, Herbert Glassman (pictured above), came from Russia to escape the pogroms:

He just devoured America. Loved it. Took it for all it was worth. He joined the cavalry at 15, lying about his age and was sent south to fight Pancho Villa with Pershing, fought in World War I, joined the Washington, D.C., police force, and then became a serial entrepreneur, owning hotels, taxicabs, and a company that made little green chewable mints. He was a rough guy, and his businesses had ups and downs. What would have happened if he had stayed in Russia? We don’t get the chance to live two lives, but I suspect nothing much good. He was an American because he chose America.

"The human capital of a nation is the store of knowledge, skills, and experience its population has acquired," Glassman continued. "This is an asset as important as oil under the ground." The full transcript of Glassman's speech can be found here.