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Immigrants and the Creative Community

  • Published on January 29, 2017
Immigrants and the Creative Community

Long after his death, the influence of Steve Jobs on technology and culture remains profound, especially within the community of creative professionals. The company he built, lost and later regained designs products used by hundreds of millions, and Apple is worth billions of dollars. In their early days, Jobs was a peer of the founders of Adobe. Their companies grew up together, in a collaborative, though sometimes strained relationship. Their symbiotic relationship allowed for the development of many of the tools found in today’s Creative Cloud. Yet few people know that Steve Jobs is the son of an immigrant from Syria, one of the countries from which immigration into the United States has been halted.

This weekend immigrants from this same country as Jobs' father have been detained at airports or forced to leave and return upon their arrival. Many of those detained are green card holders who have already established legal residency in the United States,  Others are not being allowed to even fly to the U.S., being stopped before boarding their flights. These are individuals that live legally within the United States. Stopping them from returning to their homes doesn’t serve our nation’s interests or economy, which has thrived upon diversity.

The hard work of immigrants is more than a lyric in a song from the musical Hamilton.They have helped our country and creative community in many ways. At American Graphics Institute our students and clients have benefited from the diversity of our immigrant staff. Green card holders, born abroad who have relocated to the United States have been among the best and brightest instructors on our faculty. Some have been brought to the United States as children, others moved as adults and have gone on to become citizens. These immigrants have helped financial services firms automate reporting, built catalogs and websites for major retailers, assisted government agencies, private businesses, and individuals to better use and understand technology. Through their work, they’ve taught skills that have enabled thousands of Americans to find higher-paying jobs and businesses to work more efficiently. Under the rules announced by the current administration, some instructors may be unable to travel to the place of their birth or to visit relatives, as they risk not being readmitted to the U.S., despite a long-history of working and residing in this country.  As a school with a large presence in Massachusetts, it is disappointing to see professors from a school with whom we frequently work and collaborate detained for hours at the airport as they seek to re-enter the country after traveling from a conference. Legal residents with more than a decade in our country who teach in our schools and contribute to our community should not be subject to detention and travel restrictions due simply to the place of their birth. Adobe has not made a forceful statement against these detentions. They merely indicated a few Adobe employees may be affected, and they will provide counsel and assistance as needed. 

American Graphics Institutes values and supports immigrants and visitors from abroad. Whether students visiting from another country who seek to improve their lives with education, or faculty that have moved to the United States in pursuit of new opportunities. Immigrants have made our organization stronger, assisted thousands of clients and students, and helped to build a better and more vibrant creative community within the United States. While the immigrants teaching at Americn Graphics Institute may lack the prominace of Steve Jobs, they are contributing daily to assist others, and we are proud to have them on our team and in our community.

About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics classes along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.