Small Businesses Stand Up for Immigrant Rights

Dear Leaders of the House of Representatives,

We are more than 1,000 business owners from small towns and rural communities that are the heart of America. We hold dear the values that make America great – especially the freedom and opportunity that allows anyone with a vision, a dream, to pursue it and to prosper.

Immigrants have contributed to the prosperity of America from the very beginning, and the work of immigrants today keeps our rural communities flourishing. Many of our towns and cities would have disappeared without the arrival of new families who work and shop at our businesses – and start businesses of their own.

A strong workforce and strong families are critical to the economic growth of our country. Our broken immigration system is hindering our progress, jeopardizing our economy and impacting workforce productivity. Our farms, ranches and manufacturing rely on immigrant workers to help provide the food and materials that fill every home in America.

• Nearly 10 percent of Colorado business owners are immigrants; they generate $1.2 billion in income for Colorado each year.
• The University of Nebraska Omaha reported immigrant spending in Nebraska resulted in $1.6 billion of production, generating 12,448 jobs.
• In Idaho in 2010, new immigrant business owners had a total net business income of $192 million.
• Immigrants in Virginia are more likely to be business owners than native-born Virginians. Immigrants were responsible for the 40 percent increase in entrepreneurship in the last decade.
• If Alabama’s unauthorized immigrants were all deported, the state would lose $1.1 billion in gross state product and 17,819 jobs, according to the Perryman Group.

We need a fair and predictable immigration system that works for all businesses across rural America – both immigrant-owned and citizen-owned businesses. Workers and their families deserve a path to citizenship – our livelihoods depend on it.

The 1,000 rural business owners signed below are calling on members of the U.S. House of Representatives to enact immigration reform now. Legislators have played politics and put our businesses at risk for long enough. Do your jobs, and we will do ours.

Let’s move forward together to grow a stronger future for all.

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