Immigration Reform: Message from the National Federation Independent Business (NFIB)

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Senate agreed to start debate on S. 744, the immigration reform bill—also known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.

NFIB sent a letter to Senate leaders, members of the bipartisan group (known as the gang of eight) who drafted the bill and all Senate offices that emphasized concerns that some provisions in the bill would weigh down small businesses with mandates and regulations that favor Big Business and Big Labor. A brief summary of our key points from the letter is below.

Call your Senators now at 202-224-3121 and urge them to keep these small-business concerns in mind as the immigration reform bill is considered!

Small-Business Concerns with Senate Immigration Bill:

  • Creates “The Bureau” – a New, Independent Agency Lacking Oversight – The Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research (“The Bureau”) will be a new independent agency that is self-funded through fees collected from employers participating in the new W visa program.
  • New Department of Homeland Security Authority is Duplicative – DHS should not be given new authority to establish enhanced penalties for violations of wage, hour, and workplace health and safety. The Department of Labor currently holds this authority, so DHS enforcement would be unnecessary and duplicative.
  • Construction Industry Discriminated Against – The bill specifically caps W visas for the construction industry at 15,000 per year.
  • Penalties Excessively Punitive for Small Business – Some of the penalties associated with e-verify (which is a Web-based system that compares employee information from Employment Eligibility Verification Forms (I-9) against federal government databases in order to verify workers’ employment eligibility) could be especially egregious for small businesses.The civil penalty section of e-verify legislation does not take into account the size of small business. While these penalties may serve as a deterrent to large corporations, they could shutter the doors of a small business.
  • Safe Harbor Protections are Critical – The e-verify system will not be error-free. There should be a strong faith/safe harbor provision that protects businesses that are attempting to comply with the law.
  • Financing of Mandatory Training Not Defined – Under S.744, employers must undergo mandatory e-verify training, but the bill does not specify how this will be paid for. Small businesses do not have the resources to finance yet another undefined mandate by the federal government
  • Clarification Needed for Independent Contractors – The bill does not clarify that employers will not use e-verify for independent contractors. NFIB supports the inclusion of language to ensure that employers and contractors are not liable for hiring or the continuation of employment of an unauthorized alien by a subcontractor.

The bill is expected to be considered on the Senate floor for the next three weeks. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hopes to complete work on the bill by the July 4th recess.

Some amendments will be offered over the course of the next few weeks; some of these amendments could possibly pertain to and address our concerns. Our policy team will closely monitor the progress of these amendments and advocate strongly for those that address our concerns with the proposed legislation. We will keep you updated as this bill continues to progress through the Senate, and we urge you to contact your Senators as issues arise that could address the small-business concerns with this bill.

Stay tuned to for updates and additional information.


Lisa Goeas
NFIB Vice President, Political & Grassroots

Gallup Poll – Small Business Gains the Trust of Americans

Americans' Confidence Gallup Poll

Americans’ Confidence Gallup Poll

Virtually all American small businesses hire Americans.  They spends their money here.  They pay their taxes here. Their profits stay here, helping to grow our economy. They support local businesses.  Small business grows American jobs.

While big government, big business and big union continue to capture the headlines in the Mainstream Media (MSM) the latest Gallup Polls tell the real story – Americans’ Confidence in Congress Falls to Lowest on Record. Small Business continues to garner the trust of most Americans – 76%!

Americans don’t discriminate when it comes to entrepreneurship.  Entrepreneurship and American exceptionalism is an equal opportunity endeavour.

This message needs to resonate with more politicians, whose confidence with the American people is at a new low – only 10% according to the Gallup poll!!  Yet who do politicians pander to, Big Business 22%, and Big Union 20%, right there with them.

While Big Government is busy making deals with major corporations like Amazon and Time Warner here in Florida, small businesses are left to compete for business at lesser margins.  They compete for qualified employees at higher salaries.  Why?  Big government subsidized competition for big business through tax incentives, tax breaks, and now even Obamacare, delaying the corporate mandate.

What politicians need to do, is pay attention more attention to small businesses. Recently I tested my own theory that small business grows jobs at a much greater rate than big business. I arrived at some interesting conclusions.

Using a calculator from How Many People Are Employed by Small Businesses? I did the math and here is what I found.

A large portion, over 50% of the 55M employees recorded by the SBA in 2008 employed by small businesses, are concentrated in the 1-50 employee businesses. One could then draw the conclusion, the more start-ups the better. Feeding start-ups to grow quickly into the categories of 5 – 25 employees is a path to greater job growth, than big business.

Business size – Category No. Employees Percent of Total Employees under 500 Increase in Employment by Business Size
1-4 3,724,975 7%
5-10 6,338,025 11% 63%
11-25 11,124,498 20% 53%
26-50 8,761,696 16% 29%
51-100 8,397,904 15% 22%
101-250 10,299,022 18% 21%
251-500 7,186,709 13% 13%
Total 55,832,829

There needs to be more start-ups, a.k.a., small businesses.  To encourage the increase in numbers of employees in the 5 – 25 employee categories would mean enabling small businesses to create more jobs, at a faster pace.

To demonstrate this further, another US Government Small Business Administration (SBA) study shows companies between 20 and 100 employees produce the most significant rate of growth both in employment and revenues.

Legal Form U.S., All Industries Employment Size of Firm
of Organization Total 0 * 1-4 5-9 10-19 20-99 100-499
Firms 3,781,343 13% 43% 19% 13% 11% 2%
Employment 45,087,926 0% 8% 10% 14% 37% 30%
Est. receipts 7,168,325,343 2% 9% 10% 13% 35% 31%

More of the incentives afforded to the large corporations should shift to smaller businesses to increase the numbers of smaller businesses who succeed.  Check out: America Runs On Small Businesses Infograph.

Consider as larger corporations continue to downsize, largely due to technology replacing people, where is job growth going to come from? The answer, entrepreneurs and innovation. There’s more to this story. Let me know what you think?

If politicians want to win elections, they need to run on a small business for jobs platform.  They need to ask, “What can be done to increase the success of start-ups, reduce their failure rate, sustain their growth and the rate of employment to the extent they can grow and produce significant gains in employment and revenues?”

A combination of small business development, combined with technology and innovation will grow this economy faster than dishing out boondoggles to big business.

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