THE BLOG
01/22/2015 03:01 pm ET Updated Mar 24, 2015

Immigration Reform Needed to Boost Small Business Workforce

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation recently that seeks to revoke the president's recent executive actions on immigration reform, which is disappointing news for small employers looking for qualified workers. We know from our polling that having access to a qualified workforce is of paramount importance to entrepreneurs looking to grow and expand their businesses. In fact, more than two-thirds of small business owners believe immigration reform will be good for small businesses by establishing a qualified, trained and stable workforce. But lawmakers' efforts to undo actions on immigration reform will make it even harder for small business owners who are looking to grow their businesses and find workers with the right skills.

A recent poll conducted by Small Business Majority found that while a majority of small employers have hired new employees over the past three years, many are struggling to find qualified employees. And 1 in 5 small business owners who have hired immigrants say it's because they can't find enough U.S. citizens to fill jobs. In fact, many small employers who have chosen to hire immigrants say one of the biggest challenges they face in using immigrant labor is concern about following the letter of the law.

This underscores why it's critical to improve our immigration system and make it easier for employers to understand and comply with its requirements--and why the president's executive actions are so crucial.

Rather than working against steps to improve our broken immigration system, we need Congress to move forward on comprehensive reform. This would create a more stable workforce--something small businesses desperately need right now--and pad our country's coffers.

Specifically, two-thirds of small business owners believe we should allow more low-skilled foreign workers who might work in the agricultural, restaurant or service industries into this country legally, and a vast three-quarters agree the most appropriate solution for handling the 11 million undocumented immigrants is to create a path toward citizenship so those here illegally can become legal taxpayers, pay their fair share and work toward citizenship in the future.

Comprehensive immigration reform would give a much-needed boost to our economy and encourage a robust and diversified business sector by increasing the number of pathways for immigrants to come to this country and stay legally. Everyone benefits when we encourage hard-working people to bring their skill-sets to the U.S. and let previously undocumented immigrants legally join our workforce and contribute in a meaningful way to our middle class economy.

A resounding 88 percent of small employers believe our current immigration system is broken. We hope Senate lawmakers will listen to small employers on this issue and vote against these attempts to undo reforms that benefit small businesses.