Florida needs immigration reform

The U.S. immigration system is broken and failing our economy. Meaningful immigration reform will ensure our nation’s security and drive economic growth. This is why Florida business leaders, many of them conservatives, are asking Congress to tackle immigration reform this year.

In the state of Florida, 3.6 million residents are foreign born. This represents one in every five Floridians.

While this statistic may not surprise you, did you know Florida now has the third-highest rate of immigrant business ownership in the country, generating $13.3 billion annually? According to the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE), the native-born rate of business generation declined by 10 percent between 1996 and 2011. By contrast, immigrants have increased the rate at which they start businesses by more than 50 percent over the same time span. New-business generation is key to job creation and economic growth, and immigrants are now more than twice as likely to start a business as native-born citizens.

In Florida, immigrants are leading the charge in generating new business. According to the PNAE study, immigrants founded approximately 37 percent of all new businesses in Florida. Furthermore, immigrant-owned businesses in the United States employ one out of every 10 American workers at privately owned companies, generating $775 billion dollars of revenue to the Gross Domestic Product.

Hispanic business owners have a significant presence in Florida. Moreover, Florida is home to seven of the 10 largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the country. Many of these firms play an important role in boosting U.S. exports through business with Central and South America. It is economically imperative that we have efficient and effective immigration policies in this country in order to retain these immigrant-owned businesses and attract successful immigrant entrepreneurs.

Florida’s economy, businesses and residents rely on the state’s immigrant workforce. In order to attract and maintain business professionals in all industries of our state, from entrepreneurs to medical professionals, we need meaningful immigration reform to fix our outdated immigration system. PNAE is teaming up with the business leaders to promote #iBuildImmigration, an initiative to increase awareness of the economic necessity of reforming our outdated immigration system.

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About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…