LEADERS ACROSS RURAL AMERICA SUPPORT IMMIGRATION REFORM
Small business owners, mayors, teachers, city council and law enforcement are calling for economy-boosting reform that creates jobs, supports job creation, revitalizes communities and strengthens families
Rural Voices Immigration Media Advisory June 17, 2014
Why rural America supports immigration reform
Without the contributions of immigrants, rural communities and economies across the U.S. will continue to decline. Immigrants start small businesses, work in agricultural sectors that power rural economies (including farms, dairies, and meat and poultry processing plants), and boost customer demand on Main Streets across America.
Denying new Americans the opportunity to earn citizenship and contribute to our rural communities – by starting businesses, buying homes, raising families, undermines the economic futures of whole communities across America’s rural heartland.
Immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship will give the biggest boost to rural America. Reform with a roadmap to citizenship would add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. economy over 10 years – nearly twice the economic benefits of more limited reform with no pathway to citizenship.
“Immigration isn’t just a border state issue. It’s a heartland issue. Born and raised here in Nebraska, and now running a small business here, I see immigration playing a big role in rebuilding local economies in rural Nebraska. You can’t get more heartland than here.” – Rick Poore, small business owner, Lincoln, Neb.
CASE STUDY: NO LONGER HOME GROWN
Research from the Partnership for a New American Economy highlights how labor shortages have made it difficult for farmers across rural America to keep up with double-digit growth in U.S. consumer demand for fresh produce. The result? More imported (instead of homegrown) produce on Americans’ tables and lost opportunities for economic growth in rural America.
If growers had been able to increase production to maintain their domestic market share, it would have produced an additional $4.9 billion in farming income and 89,300 more jobs in 2012 alone.
Small business owners support immigration reform – across America and across party lines
The Main Street Alliance and the American Sustainable Business Council commissioned a scientific survey of small business owners about their views on immigration reform last year. The survey found strong support for reform with a path to citizenship – across party lines and in all regions of the country.
Two thirds (67%) of small business owners support a roadmap to citizenship for immigrants already living in the United States. This support holds strong across party lines:
- Republican small business owners (62% support)
- Democratic small business owners (82% support), and
- Independent small business owners (65% support) … all support a roadmap to citizenship.
In a survey, small business owners said they see immigrants as workers, business owners, and customers. They recognize the importance of keeping families together
- Immigrant business owners and workers are important in building strong local economies. 82% of small business owners agree.
- Immigrants strengthen the small business customer base. 71% of small business owners agree.
- Keeping families together ensures a productive workforce for small businesses. 67% of small business owners agree.
Why is immigration reform with citizenship critical to small business success?
Because Immigrants are Entrepreneurs and Job Creators.
- In 2011, immigrants started 28 percent of all new businesses. Immigrants are more than twice as likely to start a business as U.S.-born citizens.
- Immigrant-owned businesses employ one out of every 10 workers in privately owned companies.
Because Immigrants Boost Consumer Demand in Local Economies.
- Immigrants earned $1.1 trillion in 2010, according to the American Community Survey.
- The purchasing power of Latinos and Asians, many of whom are immigrants, will reach $1.5 trillion and $775 billion, respectively, by 2015, according to the Immigration Policy Center.
How You Can Make a Difference
- If you’re a rural small business owner, sign our letter to the House of Representatives and make your voice heard.