Fresno, Calif., has a lot to gain from successful immigration reform. According to The Business Journal, local companies recently petitioned Congress to fight for immigration reform and citizenship for foreign workers. In the current immigration process, some businesses note there is no stability for workers as their legal status in the country is constantly threatened by authorities.
Immigration reform with a path to citizenship is capable of pumping millions into Fresno’s economy. The Fresno Immigration Reform Coalition noted the impact foreign worker policies could have in the city. Legal status for millions of foreign workers would add approximately 2,000 jobs and $170 million to the city’s economy. Currently, Fresno’s gross county product is $44 million. The additional money and job creation are two of the biggest reasons Fresno community leaders are urging Congress to take action.
“There are currently people that can’t work and can’t produce income or they’re working under the table,” John Hernandez, former president of the Central Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, told Piedmont ABC affiliate KSFN. “It will bring those dollars up and into the system, which will help the economy here locally.”
As of now, Fresno businesses are losing money as Congress has not made a decision about the fate of millions of foreign workers. Any additional delays in Congress regarding the immigration debate will only hurt Fresno’s agriculture sector. There is a widespread fear of deportation among workers in the area.
“Small businesses are sick and tired of being held accountable for immigration laws that don’t work and a system that is broken,” Ricardo Flores, a restaurant owner in Fresno, told The Business Journal. “As Congress gets back to work, they have to provide a path to citizenship that gives families stability and lets businesses draw on the talent they need to grow.”