FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2020
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GOP Donors Woody Hunt and Al Cárdenas Call for Congressional Action to Give U.S. Citizens Equal Benefits Under the Law
During Press Conference with U.S. Citizen Voters in Battleground States of CO, SC, TX, WI, Demand Republican Senators Include Mixed-Status Families in the Next Stimulus Package DALLAS – Today, business leaders and GOP donors Woody Hunt of the Texas-based Hunt Companies Inc., and Al Cárdenas, Former Chairman of the Florida Republican Party, joined U.S. citizens in mixed-status families for a press conference hosted by the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) to demand that Congress eliminate the GOP marriage penalty found in the CARES Act, which excluded 1.7 million Americans from receiving stimulus checks. The full recording of the press conference can be accessed here.
“As a Republican, I was deeply disappointed when I learned that this exclusion wasn’t an oversight, but something that some Republicans insisted on. This is not a time for political grandstanding. Too many American families need financial assistance right now, and excluding them from COVID-relief will slow and complicate our road to economic recovery,” said Woody L. Hunt, Hunt Companies Inc. Board of Directors Senior Chairman & ABIC Co-Chair.
“Congress’ inaction over the past months has hurt our communities, our small businesses and local economies, and our nation’s ability to recover. These families can’t wait until after the election. They need relief now. It is immoral to punish them for who they love. Moreover, it is politically unwise to isolate voting taxpayers so close to the election, especially in battleground states like Florida. I urge our elected officials to take heed and act now before it is too late,” said Al Cárdenas, Former Chairman of the Florida Republican Party & ABIC Co-Chair.
Wisconsin resident Jessie Alarcón was among the U.S. citizens who shared their stories. A mother who was forced to take leave from work to care for her special needs son after his school closed, Alarcón became emotional as she delivered her testimony on the hardships of being excluded from the federal relief she so desperately needed after her husband lost his job due to the pandemic. “I cannot apply for food stamps for my U.S.-born kids because it would negatively impact their dad’s immigration case and make us a ‘public charge’. Because of this, we get our groceries from local food drives or food pantries. We are at the end of our rope.” Alarcón went on to emphasize that her vote will hinge on the outcome of the next federal relief package: “I know it is election time and that I live in a swing state because every day I am contacted with ads, calls, and text messages from candidates. I ask myself. If they want my vote, why are they discriminating against my family? Why are they leaving us behind?”
Patty Ramirez, a Texas voter who has been struggling with mental health issues due to the pressure of providing for two households during a pandemic while her husband is stuck in Mexico waiting for his immigration interview, echoed Alarcon’s sentiment, stating, “I thought that a stimulus check from our government would alleviate my worries, but when I found out that I did not qualify for a payment, I felt like an outcast in my own country. Even though I’ve done everything that’s required of me and followed all the rules, I feel like a second-class citizen.”
The press conference also featured testimony from U.S. citizens Michelle Leyva of Colorado and Minerva Perez of South Carolina, and culminated in an open forum for attendees who were also denied stimulus checks due to the immigration status of their spouses to share their personal stories, and included remarks from U.S. citizens in North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas. Listen to their stories here.
With six weeks left until Election Day, ABIC is calling on Congress to stop stalling and urgently pass a comprehensive stimulus package that includes mixed-status families. “Denying U.S. citizens and their children essential relief during a pandemic is morally wrong and economically harmful. I urge our leaders in Congress to deliver a COVID relief package that lifts up all American families who need help in these uncertain times,” said Hunt.
The American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) promotes commonsense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and citizens.