SMBs: Travel ban is 'none of our business'

Nearly half of small business owners think the Trump administration's travel ban is for the best. (Holidayextrasco.uk)

In a survey of 2,200 U.S. small business owners conducted by Manta in late July and released this month, nearly half (47%) of respondents came out in favor of the Trump administration’s ban on travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Fully 91% said that they had not experienced any consequences as a result of the immigration action.

What’s more, 17% of those polled admitted they were unaware that the ban had been approved.

The travel restrictions are temporary for now—90 days for visitors and 120 days for refugees coming from the six Muslim-majority countries. The Supreme Court has said it will take the case up again in October.

However, while SMBs are not troubled, human rights groups have pushed back. “It remains clear that President Trump’s purpose is to disparage and condemn Muslims,” Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told the Washington Post after the decision was announced.

Manta’s research also explored small business owners’ personal immigration status, as well as how they stood politically on allowing foreign entrepreneurs to start their businesses in the United States, as compared to consumers’ sentiment on these issues.

Just 14% of small business owners polled told Manta that they are immigrants—and only slightly more than one-third of them said that they had moved to America specifically to start their businesses.

Of the 14% of respondents who came to the United States from abroad, 57% are now naturalized citizens, 23% are permanent residents (green card holders), 11% have visas and 9% are applying for permanent status.

When asked, “Do you support the Trump administration’s decision to postpone the start date for the immigration program that allows foreign entrepreneurs to start their companies in the United States?” about 40% answered in the affirmative. Of those who said “no” or “I am not familiar with this program,” about 30% fell into each category.

Specifically, the policy that is being delayed until March 2018 by the Department of Homeland Security (PDF)—known as the International Entrepreneur Rule—was originally scheduled to go into effect on July 17 of this year. It was approved by President Barack Obama in January during his final days in office.

In a listing in the Federal Register, the DHS said that the delay would provide the federal agency with the opportunity to obtain comments from the public “regarding a proposal to rescind the rule pursuant to Executive Order 13767, ‘Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.’”

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