In early January, the Obama administration caused quite the stir by announcing that it would go ahead with its push for broad immigration reform despite its bitter showdown with the GOP on the budget and the “fiscal cliff.”
In the weeks following the announcement, my inbox at work lit up with emails from the various Hispanic marketing and Latino issues updates I subscribe to, all of them discussing the implications of immigration reform for American life.
The most recent entry I received was from the Engage: Hispanics blog on MediaPost. Jose Villa, of the multiculturally-focused ad agency Sensis, has some great insights into what particular provisions of immigration reform would mean for Hispanic marketing.
And it looks like it would have a very positive effect.
For example, the “path to citizenship” – which doesn’t mean that 11 million undocumented immigrants will suddenly become citizens in one fell swoop – will mean that large numbers of them will be able to enter the labor force legally upon receiving their green cards.
Legal work makes it likely that these workers’ wages would rise – and be taxed as well. And higher wages usually mean higher spending on goods and services.
The low-skilled worker visa program, Villa notes, could not only create a similar uptick in spending but could also have the effect of increasing the number of Latinos living in regions beyond their main areas of concentration: the Southwest, the Northeast and Florida.
If the legislation passes, immigrants, who are overwhelmingly Hispanic, may also be required to pass English proficiency tests. More bilingual Latinos mean more opportunities for marketers to engage them in Spanish, English or, even better, both.
The great growth boom in America’s Hispanic population may be slowing – Asians are now the country’s fastest-growing minority group – but minorities as a whole have outpaced the white majority in terms of births.
And this means that, eventually, we won’t even have to be targeted as minorities. Because we are already in the mainstream.