When we look at the complex and contentious issue
of immigration reform, some wonder how big an issue it is to small
businesses. The answer is that it’s just as big an issue to America’s
small-business community as it is to corporate America.
The consequences of inaction and
procrastination are at least the same for all of us, though I can argue
that small businesses are more at risk because many don’t have the
in-house HR compliance expertise that large employers do.
I speak with many small-business owners
and operators from different industries regularly and when we discuss
immigration reform, they all express their concerns and frustration with
Washington’s inability to act. There is collective agreement that our
immigration system is in need of an overhaul, and we see widespread
support from business, faith-based and community groups alike, urging
Congress to take action.
The political will to tackle immigration
reform at the federal level seems to take more than 10 years to
develop, as we look back on the events of Sept. 11, which tragically
demonstrated that our system of immigration and border security was more
inadequate than we wished to believe.
Now, Congress is once again confronted
with this big, complex and unpopular issue that has no political safe
zone to which members of Congress can retreat.
Although the Gang of Eight’s plan that
the Senate passed is far from perfect, we have to applaud Sens. John
McCain and Jeff Flake, and the Senate as a whole, for having the courage
to take on this issue.
As the immigration reform battle has
shifted to the House, political will seems to be lacking, as it has done
nothing to take on the issue since Senate passage of its bill on June
You’ve probably heard the phrase "issues
live or die in August” when referring to proposals before Congress.
Congress takes the month of August off for its summer recess so members
can return home to reconnect with their constituents. What lawmakers
hear in August will influence their priorities and determine what
they’ll take on when they return to Washington in September. Immigration
reform is at a high risk of dying in August, as Congress intends to
take on tax and entitlement reform after the break.
Regardless of where we stand on the bill
the Senate passed, it would be unfortunate to see the House do nothing
and Congress leave us with an immigration system that is inadequate at
The Arizona Small Business Association
has not taken a position on the Gang of Eight’s plan, but we do have a
position on immigration that supports comprehensive reform at the
federal level. This position includes a reliable verification system for
domestic workers and creates a process to admit foreign workers and
strengthens our borders.
Whether the House takes on the Gang of
Eight’s plan or slices it into a dozen separate bills, we must push our
members in the House to take on immigration reform and not allow this
issue to die. During the summer recess, Aug. 5 through Sept. 6, I
encourage you to contact your representatives and urge them to take on
and debate, immigration reform. They need to hear from us as individuals
and businesses to bridge the gap between the isolation of Washington
and the realities in our state and communities.
Our inaction in August would lead to
their procrastination in September and the following months. We would
witness a slow and unfortunate end to the issue of immigration reform as
members of Congress begin to ramp up for next year’s midterm election
Jerry Bustamante is senior
vice president of public policy and oversees the Southern Arizona office
of the Arizona Small Business Association, 4811 E. Grant Road, Suite
262, in Crossroads Festival, Call him at (520) 327-0222.Source: http://www.insidetucsonbusiness.com/news/small_business/immigration-reform-matters-to-small-businesses/article_b2b7d808-0057-11e3-afe8-0019bb2963f4.html?mode=story