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Immigrants more likely than US born to own a small business

Immigrants more likely than US born to own a small business

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A new report released by Americas Society/council of the Americas and the Fiscal Policy Institute says immigrants are more likely to own small businesses than their U.S. born counterparts.

So what's the driving force behind this growing trend?

According to immigrant business owners in Allentown, it's the American dream and Hamilton Street, known as the main street of Allentown, is becoming a beacon for those wanting a piece of it.

Dominican-born Michael Rodriguez and his colleagues from the Dominican Republic and Columbia, opened Manifiesto restaurant along with 57 Bar and Lounge just six months ago.

"It was a passion ever since I was a little kid and of my other two business partners. It is worth it, however you have to work hard for everything that you want," he said.

Across the street from Manifiesto, owner Charles Williams makes lunch at his Jamaican restaurant Island in the Sun where he's been for the past five years.

"I worked for Verizon for twenty years in New York, got an early retirement, took it and decided to do my own thing," said Williams.

Using numbers from the U.S. Census, the Survey of Business Owners and the American Community Survey, the recent study shows that immigrants are 10% to 15% more likely to be business owners than their U.S. born counterparts.

So what is it that turns these men into entrepreneurs?

"It's America, land of opportunity, I mean I'm just following my dreams and it's a blessing," said Williams.

"It's the American dream, we all want to achieve that...Live better, retiring, making a better future for our family that are here and also our families that are overseas," said Rodriguez.

The same study shows that immigrants make up 28% of Main street business owners across the U.S.

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