On July 1, 2012, the South Carolina Department of Labor began to run background checks on newly hired workers, checking for compliance with immigration laws. An uptick in illegal immigration had compelled the state government to take action, going through thousands of businesses in the state and spot-checking to make sure all workers were employed legally.
They turned up more than a few violations. As The State recently reported, South Carolina law enforcement officials eventually had to cite 323 businesses for failing to comply with the law, hiring workers who didn't have legal footing on U.S. soil.
South Carolina is not alone – across the country, businesses are feeling the temptation to hire illegal workers. They're cheap, they're easy to come by and they get their work done – what's not to like? Well, besides the citations.
The president speaks
Clearly, something needs to be done to address the way immigration affects small businesses, and in 2013, hope appears to be on the horizon. President Barack Obama has recently begun to make immigration reform a priority – workers will still enter the country from abroad, but their arrivals will be regulated and monitored appropriately. Immigrants will have the same responsibilities as all Americans – according to Inc.com, requirements would include passing background checks, paying taxes, speaking the language and entering the workforce legitimately.
"If you're a foreign student who wants to pursue a career in science or technology, or a foreign entrepreneur who wants to start a business with the backing of American investors, we should help you do that here," Obama said in a speech, according to Inc.com. "Because if you succeed, you'll create American businesses."
More benefits of immigration reform
There are other benefits to be had. Immigration reform will level the playing field so that small businesses who don't hire illegal workers no longer need to compete with those who do – and furthermore, it will likely reduce crime since more American residents will be documented kept under the law's watchful eye.
Every entrepreneur in America has countless business banking concerns to worry about, and monitoring one's payroll to ensure each employee is legal shouldn't have to be one of them. If immigration reform comes to the United States, it will make the day-to-day operations of small businesses far easier.