On the Fence
Entrepreneurs weigh in on the immigration debate.
After being hotly debated around the country, President Bush's plan for broad immigration reform is likely dead in Congress until next year. Among the plan's provisions is a crackdown on businesses that hire illegal immigrants-and that's an idea legitimate businesspeople welcome. Robert Sparrow, owner and president of 1st Call Cleaning Services in San Antonio, Texas, says that without shady competitors offering below-market prices made possible by cheaper undocu-mented labor, his commercial-cleaning business would boom. "Then our customers would have to pay an appropriate amount to have their buildings cleaned," says the 40-year-old entrepreneur, whose business has $2 million in annual sales.
Business owners worry that they may unwittingly hire illegal workers using phony documents and be penalized for it. Better methods of verifying a worker's status that don't overburden businesses are definitely needed, says Todd Hess, owner and president of Todd Hess Building Co. in Portland, Oregon.
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