What Should Small Business Owners Know About Immigration Reform?

There are many complex policy issues that have a major impact on the small business community. Each week, we’re going to help break one of those issues down so small business owners can stay in the know and remain aware of their stake in these national issues. This week’s Issue Q&A is on immigration reform.

Q: Why is immigration reform a small business issue?

A: Without comprehensive immigration reform, small businesses and the economy cannot maximize job creation or revenue generation. As the nation’s primary job creators, small businesses seem to agree something must be done because immigration reform is good for their bottom lines and for our nation’s economy. To illustrate, according to our scientific polling, a sweeping 88% of small businesses agree that our current immigration system is broken, with half believing it is in need of a major overhaul. What’s more, 84% of entrepreneurs support a bipartisan Senate proposal aimed at reforming our immigration system.

Q: How will immigration reform specifically help small businesses and the economy?

A: Many companies, particularly in lower waged industries such as cleaning and food services, target undocumented workers for the employment that they desperately seek. These companies pay them meager wages, creating an unfair playing field that hurts other small employers who play by the rules and pay their workers fairly. This perpetuates a shadow economy that stifles small employers’ ability to create jobs and grow our economy.

Q: What are some solutions to immigration reform?

A: A vast three-quarters of entrepreneurs agree we are better off letting people who are in the country illegally become legal taxpayers, so they can pay their fair share and work toward citizenship in the future. By creating a path toward citizenship for undocumented workers, it creates the opportunity for them to become true contributors to our nation’s economy. Additionally, a majority of small business owners agree it’s important for the country and the overall economy to allow more high and low skilled foreign workers into this country. Allowing higher skilled foreign workers into the country legally boosts innovation and entrepreneurship, while lower skilled foreign workers are more likely to take jobs in the service or agricultural industries that many Americans won’t take themselves.