Small business owners say immigration reform will bring economic prosperity to Reno

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Small business owners say immigration reform will bring economic prosperity to Reno

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Small business owners in Reno are putting pressure on lawmakers to support comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Small business owners in Reno are putting pressure on lawmakers to support comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Carlos Martinez is the owner of a marketing consulting business in Reno. He also received his green card just about a year ago, and he says things are different now.

"I have more opportunities, more doors are open to me and definitely [I have] more work."

Martinez says immigration reform not only allows people like himself to become business owners, but it also increases and diversifies the pool of potential employees.

He says there are people who, if not for their status, he would have liked to hire, particularly for the marketing work he does in Spanish.

Bob Fulkerson, who is the state director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada [PLAN], says the money Latino immigrants spend and earn in Nevada already accounts for 25 percent of the gross state product.

"And getting that citizenship, though, is absolutely essential to increasing our economic output."

Fulkerson says reform will prevent the exploitation of immigrant labor and improve wages, which in turn brings more economic activity and tax dollars into Northern Nevada. With some caveats, Congressman Mark Amodei has said he's in favor of a 10 year pathway to "earned citizenship," and he's on a House committee that will be crafting immigration bills in the coming months.