Main Street Alliance of San Diego business owners say efforts to shut out immigrants will kill jobs, economy and culture
San Diego small business owners, already subject to a federal border wall for years, say President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration across the Mexican border will kill jobs, choke the economy and stifle San Diego’s culture.
The executive orders made last week direct federal funds toward the construction of a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and increase the number of border agents and detention centers.
Members of Main Street Alliance of San Diego, part of a national network of small business coalitions working to build a new voice for small businesses on important public policy issues, are speaking out against the executive orders.
“As a Mexican immigrant and the owner of an architecture firm, I make my living building walls. My walls are to house families and keep people safe, not to keep good people out.
I’ve been in business for a decade, and I see the contributions of fellow immigrants, documented and undocumented, on our local communities,” said Francisco Garcia, the owner of Modern Architecture Services, a Main Street Alliance of San Diego member business. “Advancing policy that locks them out of our economy will be a disaster for our country.”
A San Diego Association of Governments report found that in 2015, cross-border commerce brought $6 billion a year into the San Diego County region. However, hurdles preventing movement across the border stole $7.2 billion and cost San Diego County as many as 62,000 jobs.
Osvaldo Blackaller, owner of Cueva Bar, a Main Street Alliance member business, says his business depends upon both economic and cultural ties that Trump’s executive orders may sever.
“My restaurant’s success has been possible through the merging of cultures, the blending of foods and a team from all over the world,” says Blackaller. “I cook to bring people together. Trump will try, but he will not separate us.”
Since then-candidate Donald Trump first incorporated attacks on Muslims, refugees, and immigrants into his presidential campaign, small business owners across San Diego have grown a movement to create safe spaces and stand up for immigrants and refugees in their communities by posting signs in their shop windows stating, “All Are Welcome Here.”
Alma Rodriguez, owner of Main Street Alliance member business Queen Bee’s Arts and Cultural Center says, “Immigration is a part of San Diego. It is our economy, our identity. This move to close us off from that connection will stifle economic prosperity, the arts and what makes life in San Diego beautiful.”
San Diego and California leaders echo business owner sentiments. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has opposed Trump’s border wall initiative, stating that, “Our proximity to Mexico is not a liability but an advantage that we embrace. It’s not about city boundaries or international boundaries; it’s about how we work together” and recently tweeting that San Diego “already has a border built by the Feds. Crossborder trade creates jobs. Our binational economic & cultural ties have my full support.”
Governor Jerry Brown declared in his recent State of the State Address, “Let me be clear. We will defend everybody — every man, woman and child who has come here for a better life and has contributed to the well-being of our state.”
About Main Street Alliance of San Diego:
Main Street Alliance of San Diego is one chapter of a national network of small business coalitions working to build a new voice for small businesses on important public policy issues. Alliance small business owners share a vision of public policies that work for business owners, our employees, and the communities we serve.