As a successful woman small business owner in Colorado, Lisa Goodbee knows first-hand the hardships that go into starting a business from scratch.
With blood, sweat and tears, Goodbee has turned her small business, Goodbee & Associates, into a standout woman-owned engineering firm since its founding in 1994.
It’s this experience and the opportunities that were available to her that shape Goodbee’s stance on immigration reform, something she strongly believes in.
“As a Colorado small business owner, I am in strong support of immigration reform. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do from a business perspective,” she said.
Goodbee particularly supports The DREAM ACT, legislation signed into law by President Obama, which helps provide conditional residency to immigrants who arrived to the United States as minors, lived in the country for five years prior to the bill’s enactment and graduated from a U.S. high school. Residency can be extended or become permanent should they choose to enlist and serve in the military for a specific amount of time or work toward earning a collegiate degree.
“It makes absolutely no sense that we limit opportunities for young, motivated Colorado Dreamers – young people born abroad but raised and educated here,” she said.
The math is simple. Immigrants are one of the leading founders of small businesses across the country. Small businesses are our nation’s prime job creators and stimulate many local economies. If immigrants are the primary group that establishes one of our economy’s largest growth machines, then it makes fiscal and economic sense to provide them with the opportunity to do so.
“As a business community, we should be encouraging and supporting future contributing members of our society. Deportation, tearing families apart and demonizing immigrants is anti-business and anti-community,” she said.
Without comprehensive immigration reform, Goodbee realizes that these things will continue to happen, not to mention the missed opportunity for small firms and the economy to maximize job creation and revenue generation. “Allowing [immigrants] to find a career path through higher education and employment lifts us all up,” she said.
But it doesn’t just stop at reform for Goodbee. She, like many other small business owners, believe the most appropriate way to handle what a vast majority believe is a broken immigration system is to create a path toward citizenship for many undocumented workers.
“When people are given the opportunity to be tax-paying, contributing consumers, that is good for all business,” she said.
Goodbee worked hard to build her business from the ground up and turn it into one of the Denver area’s many small businesses that power the local economy. She knows many immigrants have the drive to do the same, they just need the opportunity to do so. That opportunity starts with reform.