Immigration reform could help local business prosper

A local business responded positively Monday after eight lawmakers came together to propose a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

The bipartisan bill proposes an employment verification system which makes businesses accountable for hiring undocumented workers. It also attaches green cards to immigrants obtaining science, technology, engineering, and math degrees at U.S. universities.

Moline’s La Primavera grocery store says about 90% of its business comes from U.S. immigrants. It says it could see increased business if Congress approves a plan. Workers say that more immigrants could use their store if Congress makes a deal.

“It’s a good opportunity for everyone,” cashier Miguel Cruz said. “If they’re documented, they’re going to feel more comfortable walking around, and they won’t be afraid of being picked up by the cops and shipped off to their countries.”

Casa Guanajuato says there are about 20,000 illegal immigrants in the Quad Cities. It says that many immigrants are coming from the Chicago area because of the city’s high unemployment rate.

“The cross roads of this country are changing,” Executive Director Michael Woods said. “Immigrants are moving outside of the community to the rural communities like the Quad Cities.”

La Primavera may be willing to expand if it sees an increase in business. There are already two grocery stores in the area, one in Moline and one in East Moline.

“If we see more demand coming from the people, we will spend money,” store owner Angel Vargas said.

President Obama is expected to make an immigration reform speech Tuesday night in Las Vegas. His aides say he’ll ask for increased border security plus a pathway to “earned” citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

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