During his State of the Union Address, President Obama called on Congress to send him an immigration reform bill.
"It's time to harness the talents and ingenuity of hardworking immigrants by finally passing comprehensive immigration reform - securing our borders, establishing a responsible path to earned citizenship, and attracting the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs. These steps will help grow our economy and rebuild a rising, thriving middle class," said President Obama.
The President spoke specifically about the impact of immigration on the economy.
While many in South Dakota may have opinions on immigration at a national level, some feel it's more of an issue for border states like Texas, Arizona or California; however, immigration is making a big impact here in Sioux Falls and in communities across South Dakota.
Juan Bonilla, the President of Sioux Falls' Diversity Council, says there are 22,000 Latinos living in Sioux Falls alone, an increase of more than 10,000 since 2009.
Bonilla says South Dakota's growing economy is a big attraction to immigrants looking to settle in America.
"The people who are here from the Latino community are here to work with out community, to be integrated in our community, to open businesses and help the economy here," said Bonilla.
He says the percentage of new businesses started by Latinos in Sioux Falls is higher than the percentage growth of new businesses in the entire nation.
According to Bonilla, addressing immigration reform at a national level will expedite the process for these potential business owners to fully integrate into the American economy by paying taxes, creating new jobs and investing their own money into the local economy like buying homes, cars and other goods.
Bonilla believes illegal immigration isn't a big issue in South Dakota; its estimated that less than one percent of the state's Latino population is in the state illegally. However, he says getting all immigrants proper documentation will stimulate the economy through added taxes and job growth.
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