LAS VEGAS -- Nevada Democratic Senator and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the comprehensive immigration reform bill would have tremendous impact on small businesses, especially those owned by immigrants.
According to the Immigration Policy Center, nearly 21 percent of business owners in Nevada are foreign-born. In addition, 20,000 immigrants in our state became new business owners just between 2006 and 2010.
In fact, immigrant business owners generated $1.1 billion in Nevada in 2010 alone. Now, those who support immigration reform say the state can only benefit by giving more immigrants a chance to achieve the American dream.
For Ramon Lim, opening up his Filipino restaurant, the Salo Salo Grill, in Las Vegas 11 years ago was a dream come true.
"American dream I guess, to own a home and to have a business," Lim said.
A business that over the past decade has hired on many other people from the Philippines, looking for employment opportunities in the U.S., but there are others that Lim says he had to turn away because they are undocumented.
"They just wanted to work and not depend on anybody else," Lim said.
Tuesday morning, Senator Reid joined Las Vegas business leaders to push for the passage of the comprehensive immigration reform bill.
The Senate majority leader says the legislation would benefit states like Nevada, where the number of immigrant business owners is growing.
"It is important that they can hire who they want and not having to worry about being arrested for some immigration violations," Reid said.
Back at Lim's restaurant, he says immigration reform would also make it easier for his Filipino workers to bring their families to the U.S., so they could maybe one day also be able to see their American dreams come true.
"It would give them opportunity to also contribute to the economy," Lim said.
According to the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce, some 500,000 Filipinos are on a visa waiting list trying to come to the U.S.
However, supporters of immigration reform say it is not just small businesses that would benefit.
Carlos Lasane with Caesars Entertainment says a more streamlined immigration process would give them access to more talents from overseas.
"We are all in the same sandbox. We all need people. We are all looking for good people," Lasane said.
Lasane says the workers would be placed in all Caesars properties, including the newly opened The Linq and The Cromwell boutique hotel.