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The business community has the reputation of favoring open borders and endless immigration. However, that stereotype is not entirely true. While the National Association of Homebuilders and the Restaurant Association have their noisy lobbyists pressuring Congress for continued access to unlimited cheap immigrant labor, some owners of small businesses have a different opinion.

Small businesses that are connected over time to the communities where they are located are less inclined to be have a short-term rip-off mentality.

Furthermore, when hundreds of thousands are working under the radar of law and taxation, as is the case in Los Angeles County, huge sums are lost from the tax base. According to a study prepared by the Economic Roundtable in May 2002, up to 1.5 million of LA County's workers are now paid in cash with the result that about $1.1 billion annually is not being paid into Social Security, workers' compensation, health insurance and other social safety net programs often used by many of those same off-the-books aliens.



•   On September 19, 2002, Matthew Reindl presented his testimony before a joint hearing of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the Subcommittee on Social Security about the damage that illegal immigration has done to his business, a cabinetry company specializing in designing and installing medical office interiors. Stylecraft Interiors is located in Great Neck, New York, and was founded in 1951 by Mr. Reindl's grandfather, a German immigrant.

The powerful testimony demonstrated in dollar and cents how the company is put at a financial disadvantage by paying the required employee taxes when it's illegal-hiring competitors do not pay these costs. In fact, two legal immigrant employees left the company to utilize a day-worker site, because they could make more money working off the books. Mr. Reindl applauded the Social Security Administration's greater diligence in checking the required SS numbers on wage forms which has pointed a light on employers of illegal aliens. He stressed that the workplace fraud of illegal aliens must be stopped so that law-abiding businesses like his can compete and survive.

•   Michael Patrey runs a retail florist shop that has a history of land and family that goes back to the 18th century. His business is threatened by the explosion of immigrants selling flowers from street corners who not only take business away from legally operating florists, but also care nothing about the destruction of property they cause or bother to pay taxes. Local police have been less than helpful.