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Small Business Wants Immigration Reform for More Than Cheap Labor

Migrant workers harvest strawberries at a farm near Oxnard, Calif, on March 13
Migrant workers harvest strawberries at a farm near Oxnard, Calif, on March 13Photograph by Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

Business leaders often portray U.S. immigration reform as a necessary means to increasing the supply of workers, whether as high-skilled engineers for the technology sector or, say, minimum-wage housekeepers for the hotel industry. A pair of recent polls suggest that small business owners also see immigrants as important customers, job creators, and taxpayers.

In a survey released today by the Main Street Alliance and the American Sustainable Business Council, 82 percent of Democrat small business owners and 62 percent of Republicans supported a road map to citizenship for immigrants already living in the U.S. as well as for future immigrants. Seventy-one percent of the 515 respondents, meanwhile, said that immigration policies should encourage economic integration, and that such policies would strengthen the customer base for small businesses.