It was immediately evident how President Trump’s proposed immigration ban affected the immigrant population in America and the large companies, like Google, that many American immigrants work for. It was less obvious though how the ban, or other future bans like it, could affect small businesses. Immigrants start 25 percent of new companies in the technology and engineering sectors and employ more than 500,000 people. Some of America’s biggest and most well-known companies were started by immigrants: Goldman Sachs, eBay, AT&T, Yahoo, Nordstrom, and Pfizer are just a few. Refugees also help strengthen communities according to the Foundation for Economic Education:
“Refugees have also helped rebuild and grow many communities around the country. As a Fiscal Policy Institute report from  shows, small business owners have restored areas in Detroit, Minneapolis, Nashville, Philadelphia, and other US cities. After an influx of refugees and immigrants into Minneapolis, for example, foreign residents opened more than 5,000 new businesses. In Philadelphia, the number is more than 13,000. Most of these new businesses opened in poorer areas, revitalizing the cities’ neighborhoods. Refugees are economic stimulus.”
Immigration is a key part of small business success and bans like the one proposed by the Trump administration may hurt the small and medium-sized business (SMB) community in America, which could have a substantial impact on the economy.Tweet This Small businesses could benefit from favorable immigration policies to help grow and succeed.
What can a proactive business owner do in the face of immigration bans? Here are some tips:
Promote Inclusivity at Your Business
Most immigrants are considered the “other” and as such can be made to feel uncomfortable, even in a professional setting. If you’re in favor of immigration, then you can make inclusivity part of your culture at work.This will not only help your immigrant employees (and customers) feel welcome, but it may help all your employees, diverse and otherwise, feel welcome and supported. You can provide ethics training for employees to help promote equality and help quell prejudices. Some employees may not realize the things they say or do could be considered prejudice until they have taken formal training sessions.
Encourage employees to speak up if they see prejudice happening so everyone, including your immigrant employees, can feel safe in the office. Celebrate diversity often by taking note of the holidays and traditions of all your employees, not just your own or the majority. You may not be able to directly impact immigration laws or bans, but you can make your business a welcome place for all cultures and origins, which can show employees and potentially customers that you support inclusivity and immigration.
Make Your Vote Count
As a small business owner, you’ll be heavily targeted by political candidates who want your vote. You may instinctively think you’re too busy to keep up with politics, but your vote matters substantially, and not just in major presidential elections. Try to stay on top of your local and state politics so you can try to influence decision makers. Attend city council meetings when you can so you’re aware of the issues and can make your opinion known.
Immigration is just one of the many major issues facing small business owners. Here are some other issues you can be proactive about:
- The Proactive Small Business Owner Series: Navigating Your Taxes and Regulations
- The Proactive Small Business Owner Series: The Affordable Care Act
- The Proactive Small Business Owner: Securing a Loan
- The Proactive Small Business Owner Series: Affordable Retirement
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