Strong support for roadmap to citizenship for current immigrants
Members of the Maine Small Business Coalition, a partner of the Maine People's Alliance, gathered at the Tawakal Store in Portland today to react to the results of a new national poll of small business owners on the issue of immigration reform. The survey found that by a margin of two to one (67% - 27%), small business owners not only support immigration reform, but a roadmap to citizenship for the more than 11 million immigrants living in this country as well.
The local business owners were joined by members of Maine’s immigrant community who are closely watching federal reform efforts and the role of members of Maine’s congressional delegation in securing the passage of comprehensive immigration legislation.
“I do not often get involved in political issues, but the issue of immigration reform has affected me personally as well as economically,” said Ali Mohammed, owner of the Tawakal Store. “We worked hard to build this business, but we didn’t do it alone. Our customer base consists largely of African immigrants living in the Portland area. At a time when the economy is sluggishly recovering from a recession, small businesses like mine need immigration reform that recognizes the reality faced by our communities and our businesses.”
According to the report, more than two thirds (71%) of small business owners polled believe that their small business customer base would be strengthened by immigration reform. 67% of small business owners surveyed also believe it is important to keep families together to ensure a productive workforce.
“It’s good for the economy to ensure a pathway to citizenship that allows immigrants to pursue the American dream,” said Mohammed Barre, who co-owns Maine State Interpreters, a full service translation and interpretation company. “Immigrants are twice as likely as U.S.-born citizens to start a small business, which means immigrants are creating jobs as well as becoming new customers. Immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship helps ensure that those employers and employees can put down long-term roots that grow our economy and our community.”
"Small business owners recognize that immigrants contribute to the economy and our country in many ways: as workers, business owners, and as a growing economic force,” said Kevin Simowitz, director of the Maine Small Business Coalition. “This is especially important in Maine, where we have an aging population and a real need for the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit that these new Mainers embody. We need new immigration policies that create a pathway to citizenship to build strong communities and stronger local economies."
The national live phone survey of 515 small business owners (with 2 to 99 employees) was commissioned by the Main Street Alliance and American Sustainable Business Council. The poll was conducted between March 14-25 and has a margin of error of +/-4.4%.
Click here to read the full report: http://bit.ly/smallbusinesspollimmigration