images-1Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.  It has now come and gone.  There is something about the event, the conversations, the food, family and friends that are an annual highlight.

We go around the table every year and say what makes us thankful.  Most of the time I get groans but we are all glad after we did it.  This year was as always interesting to hear what everyone said.

Our friend, who we have known for over two decades told a story that I did not know.  He was a scrappy kid who always had a bunch of ways of making money up his sleeve.  After graduating college he went to work in his father’s Greek diner on Wall Street.  He worked hard.  One guy who came into the diner all the time for lunch saw something in him.  He asked him if he wanted to come work for him on the trading floor.  Our friend is one of the most successful currency traders.  That one person changed his life.

Fred has a story like that too.  His high school teacher told me he should go to MIT.  He did not even know about MIT.  He followed his advice and it changed his life.  My Mom told Fred to go to business school.  It wasn’t even on his radar.  Two people changed the trajectory of his life.

One of our guests is from Bangladesh.  He was born in the US and left at 2 years old.  He will be graduating college in the spring.  He is happy to have a US passport.  His friends who came over here to go to college have 14 days to get a job or they will be deported.  14 days.  I can not get that out of my head.  We have the best and brightest around the globe come to educate themselves in our country.  Most of them want to stay here and work or even settle down but our country gives them the boot after 14 days.  You can’t even get a reservation in some NYC restaurants 14 days in advance.

This generation of graduates have so many different job opportunities that I did not have when I graduated.  They are interested in making a difference, being happy and finding balance in their lives.  They aren’t all interested in taking a job from the few companies that come recruit on college campuses like a Goldman Sachs or large bank.  They want to work at start-ups in technology, media, food or even non-profits.  Why wouldn’t we want those kids who came here to get an education stay here for awhile to figure out their future?

My friend told me a different story about the refugees in Germany.  He is invested in a start-up food company.  In Germany getting a VISA happens quickly.  You can get one within a few days that will last 5 years.  They are embracing immigration.  The first hire they made was a Syrian refugee who was a pharmacist in Syria.  The guy that they hired changed the entire production line and re-calibrated all of the vinaigrettes.  Incredible hire.  I love this story.  A win win for everyone.

Immigration laws must change.  We are losing some of the brightest young people who came from across the globe to be educated to be tossed back in two weeks.  It makes zero sense

The crazy fear that is being stirred up around immigration is disturbing.  Our entire country is a nation of immigrants.  History has proven that people who want to put up walls and treat one group of people differently will end up on the wrong side of history.