Saturday, June 15, 2024

Comentarios From Maria: The Tremendous Power of Latinos Fuels Reform

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Throughout my career I have had the pleasure of working with many organizations that do tremendous work and provide much needed services to the Hispanic community. One of these organizations is the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), where I am currently a part of organization’s the Board of Directors.

There are over 54 million Hispanics in the United States and we possess an impressive power as consumers, contributing more than $1.2 trillion to our country’s economy. There are more than 3.2 million Latino businesses and entrepreneurs in the United States that will add $468 million into the U.S. economy.

This week, USHCC celebrated its annual convention in Utah, a state that we generally do not associate with Latinos, but whose Latino population has skyrocketed and where Hispanic-owned businesses are rapidly flourishing.

As is the case in every state, Latinos are making a huge difference. In Utah, the Attorney General is a young Latino, Sean Reyes, who will surely go very far. Furthermore, in the state legislature, we have Senator Luz Robles, and Representatives Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Mark Wheatley and Angela Romero.

There are over 10,000 Hispanic businesses in Utah that have increased the power of Latino consumers to an impressive $6.4 billion. And it is still growing! As our community and our achievements grow, we must shout it from the rooftops, so that everyone knows that we are a community that is capable of having educated entrepreneurs and business owners, and above all, divorce ourselves from the stereotypes that many have about Latinos -especially within the Republican party- who claim we only come to this country to drain their resources, sell drugs and commit crimes.

USHCC is one of the organizations that is fighting daily to ensure that immigration reform becomes a reality. This is one of the most important issues for all Latino businessmen and women because it would boost the country’s economy significantly.

Immigration reform would increase the legal labor force by 4.4% since 94% of new residents are below the age of 65. And when our friends and families can come out of the shadows, the housing market will increase by more than $68 million each year and salaries will increase by .5% by 2033.

The voices of Latino entrepreneurs and all business leaders in the U.S. are critical to the immigration debate. We must underscore the economic benefits of reform to a much further extent than we have done. Furthermore, we must continue highlighting the fact that by passing immigration reform, the national deficit will decrease by $1.2 trillion over 20 years. All of this should be a tremendous incentive to pass immigration reform that serves everyone!

That is why I am not surprised that the United States Chamber of Commerce has joined USHCC to advocate for real reform. They know that there is no good future without legalizing the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. They also understand that our country has to ensure Latino entrepreneurs and business-owners get ahead, because they represent a very important part of our economy and our entire society.

This is what USHCC works towards, and we must all help advance this important work.

This piece originally appeared in Spanish in the Washington Hispanic