South Carolina Small Biz Owners Hold Multi-City Press Conferences Urging Sens. Graham and Scott to Support Bipartisan Immigration Solutions to Address Worker Shortage
COLUMBIA, SC — The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce joined the American Business Immigration Coalition – Carolinas Chapter to convene three press conferences across the state urging Sens. Lindsey Graham (SC-R) and Tim Scott (SC-R) to support common sense immigration solutions such as the bipartisan Durbin-Graham Dream Act, the Bennett-Crapo Senate companion bill to the House’s Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and the SECURE Act (see below for more information on these bills).
The three press conferences took place in Greenville (partial recording), West Columbia, and North Charleston, South Carolina.
Speakers included local owners of greenhouses, restaurants, and insurance agencies as well as immigrant entrepreneurs and faith leaders. They advocated for immigration solutions that would expand our workforce, bring certainty to families and help turbocharge the South Carolina economy. The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce also announced that it has signed on as a member of ABIC to advocate for these solutions.
Immigrants in South Carolina have created more than 25,000 new businesses and generate more than $720 million dollars in business revenue, in addition to the billions of dollars they contribute to the South Carolina economy every year.
Partners included: American Business Immigration Coalition Carolinas Chapter, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, AmericanHort, Charleston Hispanic Association.
Highlight from conferences below. For a complete list of speakers for each city click here.
Frank Knapp, President/CEO South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and a member of the American Business Immigration Coalition, said:
“We are calling on our South Carolina Senators Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott to support bipartisan immigration solutions NOW that will expand our workforce, give certainty to families, and boost the economy at a time when businesses are finding it difficult to find workers across every sector. The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce is joining the American Business Immigration Coalition to promote these common sense immigration solutions.” (See full remarks here)
Yahel Flores, Carolinas State Director, American Business Immigration Coalition, said: “This is the moment for bipartisan action on common sense immigration solutions. There isn’t a day to waste. The American Business Immigration Coalition is proud to partner with the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and small business, faith, civic and agriculture leaders, including immigrant entrepreneurs and Dreamers across South Carolina, in urging Senators Graham and Scott to lead the way on a bipartisan deal to pass the Durbin-Graham Dream Act; to cosponsor the SECURE Act and to support the Crapo-Bennet Senate companion bill to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.”
Jorge Barrales, Co-Owner, Papi’s Tacos and immigrant entrepreneur, said: “This restaurant behind me might look like just another taco shop, but Papi’s Tacos represents the American Dream. My family and I are immigrants who strive to show others like us that with hard work, success is attainable. We feel that we have a lot to offer and we have shown that. Papi’s Tacos helps the Greenville community thrive, just as all other small businesses do. We give back. Senators Graham and Scott, recognize the contributions of immigrants to our communities and economy — pass the Durbin-Graham Dream Act.”
Mayra Gallo, Owner of Bonjour Crepes and immigrant entrepreneur, said: “Senators Scott and Graham: Protect and support common sense, bipartisan immigration solutions. Recognize the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs like myself. Cosponsor the SECURE Act to offer Venezuelans fleeing the Maduro region a sense of stability and security in this country. Help ensure we pass the Durbin-Graham Dream Act.”
Tahera Attarwala, Dreamer and TheDream.US Scholar, said: “I sincerely urge Senator Graham and Senator Scott to pass the Durbin-Graham DREAM Act so that Dreamers can become citizens and be fully integrated into society without fear of deportation. Although India is my birth country, the United States is my home. I belong here.”
Arianna Cabrera de Ona, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and General Counsel, Costa Farms and a member of AmericanHort, said: “We worry about our ability to continue to grow without an adequate workforce. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which passed the House in March, would move us forward on all of these fronts. The Senate should embrace critical first-step reforms that include Dreamers, long-time TPS holders and a Senate version of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. We at Costa Farms urge support for such an approach by Senators Graham and Scott.”
John Durst, President, South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, said:
“We feel very strongly that common sense changes to immigration and reforming that area will help.”
Enrique (Henry) Grace, CFO, Charleston Hispanic Association, Owner, Xtreem Cleaners, said: “The number one call I get in my work with the Charleston Hispanic Alliance is businesses looking for workers. Dreamers are here, they want to work, they are part of our community. It’s time for our Senators Tim Scott and Lindsay Graham to do everything they can to pass the Durbin-Graham Dream Act.”
Iskra Perez-Salcedo, CEO, IPS Accounting Services; Founder, Hispanic Women Entrepreneurs of SC, said: “I fled Cuba to escape the Castro regime with my parents as part of the Mariel boatlift – I understand what the Venezuelan community is feeling with the Maduro regime. As a child, I had to start over in a new country – I understand what the Dreamers are going through. Senators Graham and Scott, I urge you to cosponsor the SECURE Act and to do everything in your power to pass the bipartisan Durbin-Graham DREAM Act.”
Jonatan Guerrero-Ramirez, DACA Recipient, Entrepreneur, Closet Case Thrift Store Manager, We are Family: “Being a young entrepreneur in the fashion industry is not easy, but thanks to DACA, I was able to make what I thought was impossible a possibility for me! People talk about ‘The American Dream’ and how it is achievable if you work hard. We DACA recipients have been working hard to pay our taxes, to start our businesses, and to provide for our families. Senators Scott and Graham, recognize the contributions immigrants
are making to our state as entrepreneurs and workers. Support the bipartisan Dream Act Senator Graham has cosponsored with Senator Durbin.”
BIPARTISAN IMMIGRATION SOLUTIONS:
- Crapo-Bennet Senate Companion Bill to Farm Workforce Modernization Act: A bipartisan effort led by Democratic Senators Michael Bennet (CO) and Republican Senator Mike Crapo (ID) that would stabilize the current and future agricultural workforce and provide undocumented farmworkers and immediate family members legal immigration status and a path to citizenship.
- Durbin-Graham Dream Act: Co-sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsay Graham, this bipartisan bill provides a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 2 million undocumented people, including current DACA recipients, those eligible to apply for DACA, and other undocumented immigrant youth.
- SECURE Act: Under this bill, all those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) who have been continuously present in the United States for at least three years would be eligible to apply for legal permanent residency.
The Carolinas Chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) promotes sensible immigration reform that supports the economy of The Carolinas by providing American companies with both the high-skilled and “low-skilled” talent they need, and allow the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and citizens.
The American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) promotes commonsense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and citizens.