Advocates say South Carolina Small Businesses could benefit from a moderate legal immigrant increase

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce joins the American Business Immigration Coalition – Carolinas Chapter, and the Charleston Hispanic Association to urge Senators Lindsey Graham (SC-R) and Tim Scott (SC-R) to support what they call ‘common sense immigration solutions.’

 The solutions, categorized as the Durbin-Graham Dream Act, the Bennett-Crapo Senate companion bill to the House’s Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and the SECURE Act. The South Carolina business leaders and immigration advocates say these legislative works will assist to fill jobs across the state and the Lowcountry. All the while, assisting in the beginning steps of creating a better immigration system.

In addition to addressing the labor shortage, the groups say adding a moderate increase of legal immigration will also assist with the 40-year-low in small business startups.

This as immigrants in South Carolina have created more than 25,000 new businesses and generated more than $720 million dollars in business revenue. All in addition to the billions of dollars they contribute to the South Carolina economy every year.    

Frank Knapp the President and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber says his answer to the long-term answer to today’s labor shortage is sensible immigration policy to allow for higher levels of legal immigration of working-age adults. Even more, those immigrants bring, “a great entrepreneurial spirit. A modest increase in the number of immigrants legally entering into the U.S.–combined with citizenship will help us get out of our 40 year low.”

The entrepreneurial spirit, stemming from courage to want more for their families, no matter how.

Iskra Perez Salcedo the CEO and Founder IPS Accounting says her parents were both professionals, and when they immigrated from Cuba, they had to start to do, whatever they had to do, “from housekeeping to waiting tables, and I am so grateful that they had the courage to do this.”

But mixed with that courage is a constant fear of being sent back to a place they no longer know. Jonathan Ramirez, a DACA recipient says “having the fear that I would come home and they (my parents) wouldn’t be there, that was my fear.”

But with the proper policies in place, Perez Salcedo says more than just the immigrant community will benefit.  

We need to give these people the opportunities they deserve…because we all deserve them. This is what America is all about.  

iskra Perez Salcedo

The groups are urging both Senator Scott and Graham to assert their influence to move the reform bills forward.  

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