As Immigration Bill Gets Defeated Business Owners React

June 8, 2007 - Posted at 5:27 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO-For 20 years, David McQuay has owned and operated his roofing and construction company in Jonesboro, but he says the times of good business are changing.

"In the last two years it's gotten real bad, and it's steadily getting worse," said McQuay.

He's talking about the amount of illegal immigrant workers in the U.S.

He says as big businesses hire more and more of these employees, it's hurting smaller businesses, like his own.

"It's about killed me. I can't bid against them. They came in and basically undercut everybody, and they've taken all of the business away," said McQuay.

He says on a daily basis he is approached by Hispanics asking for employment.

"Usually you will ask them if you have a social security number or are you paying taxes or whatever. 95% of them will tell you no. They have no social security card or drivers license," said McQuay.

Those like Henry Torres of the Hispanic Community Center say, it's not an issue of legal or illegal, because Hispanics offer a lot to society.

"We do have a lot of immigrants working and providing a lot of economic development impact. They impacting the economic structure in our environment in Jonesboro and the region as well," said Torres.

He says, a lot of it comes down to businesses just needing to make a profit.

"Especially the small business owners. They are going to try and make a profit, and they need to make a profit. They are going to look for ways to cut costs. They are also going to look for people that are loyal and show up for work, that want to work, and don't mind working hard," said Torres.

He says likenesses and differences aside, it all boils down to the American dream.

"When you are looking at the big picture. That's what America is made of. It's prosperity looking for the better thing, for the better thing, for the better thing, and continue looking for a better thing," said Torres.

But for those like McQuay, he just hopes the better thing is not his end.

"Eventually, it's going to put me out of business. It's real close right now. I have had to let go of everybody that has worked for me so far except one. That's what it's doing. It's putting us out," said McQuay.

The Immigration Reform Bill was voted down by the U.S. Senate just after midnight Friday by a vote of 49 to 48.

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