[RECORDING] Central Florida Leaders to Rubio and Scott: Pass Bipartisan Immigration Solutions Now!
Link to recording here: https://bit.ly/3oQNV0Y
ORLANDO, FL – Business, faith, and civic leaders from Central Florida joined Floridians from across the state in urging Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) to support bipartisan immigration solutions that expand the region’s workforce, bring certainty to families and employers, and help our economy roar back from the pandemic at the Central Florida Thriving! Bipartisan Immigration Solutions 2021. You can find a link to the recording here.
Event speakers included US Congressman Darren Soto (FL-9); Al Cárdenas, Former Chairman of the Florida Republican Party; Nora Venegas, Director, Federal Government Relations, Tyson Foods and
Most Rev. John Noonan, Bishop of Orlando; Mayor Buddy Dyer, City of Orlando; Rene Plasencia, Florida State Representative (R-Titusville);Kay Rawlins, Club Founder & SVP of Community Relations, President, Orlando City Foundation (Orlando City Soccer Club); Jan Gautam, President & CEO, Interessant Hotels & Resort Management; Dr. Idler Bonhomme, Chairman and Officer of the Board, Greater Haitian American Chamber of Commerce Orlando; William Diaz, Founder, Casa de Venezuela; Jorge H. Figueroa, President, Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida; Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director, Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC); Cirenio Cervantes, DACA Recipient, Faith in Florida; Arianna Cabrera de Ona, SVP of Human Resources and General Counsel, Costa Farms, AmericanHort Member; Patsy Sanchez, Education Advocate, and Community Activist, Former Director of Diversity and Inclusion, USF |Tampa;
QUOTES FROM THE EVENT BELOW. TO WATCH ENTIRE VIDEO, CLICK HERE.
U.S. Congressman Darren Soto (FL-9) said: “Immigration reform is key to Florida. A pathway to citizenship is good for our culture, good for the American dream in Florida, and good for our economy. We know in Central Florida we have nearly a million immigrants and more TPS recipients than any other state in the nation, particularly after our hard-fought victory to get Venezuelans TPS, and new TPS granted to Haitians. It’s time for the Senate to pass immigration reform to help Florida, to help the American Dream and to make sure we have a 21st century economy that works for everyone.”
Al Cardenas, Former Chair of the Republican Party of Florida and Co-Chair of the American Business Immigration Coalition and IMPAC Fund, said: “We are urging our two Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott to move forward on solutions. Comprehensive immigration reform has been around for 20 years, and 80 percent of the members of Congress of both sides of the aisle support them, and yet we have not been able to figure out politically how to get this done. We have reached a point where we can no longer wait. We have three viable solutions on the table right now…If the two senators from Florida said they would sponsor these bills, they are going to happen.”
Florida State Representative Rene Plasencia (R-Titusville) said: “If they’re in this country and they want to work hard, they should be given an opportunity to do so, and children should always, always be given an opportunity to pursue an education and a career for themselves as they get older.”
Craig J. Regelbrugge, Senior Vice President, AmericanHort, said: “The pandemic put a spotlight on how all Americans benefit from the essential contributions of immigrant farm workers. In March, the House passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act on a strong bipartisan vote. There’s no time like NOW for solution-seeking Senators to embrace agricultural reform as a pillar of a bipartisan agreement on first steps forward.”
Dr. Idler Bonhomme, Chairman and Officer of the Board, Greater Haitian American Chamber of Commerce Orlando: “I am grateful the Biden Administration extended TPS for Haitian Nationals for 18 months. We want all immigrants to have the same opportunity. I urge Senator Marco Rubio and Rick Scott to help Florida lead the way to provide the same opportunity for the DACA recipients and TPS holders —a path to permanent resident/citizenship. This will bring certainty to families, employers and help our economy roar back from the pandemic.”
Cirenio Cervantes, DACA Recipient, Faith in Florida, said: “I came to the U.S. when I was 7 years old. After graduating from high school I dreamed of going to college. But I couldn’t because I didn’t have a 9 digit Social Security number in order to apply. However, through organizing I was able to apply for DACA, which allowed me to get a work permit and study as well. I was then able to go to college and get a bachelor’s degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. Without citizenship life is difficult, and we constantly live in limbo. I hope we are able to work together and look at this as an opportunity to find a solution for many of our families.”
Arianna Cabrera de Ona, SVP of Human Resources and General Counsel, Costa Farms and Member of AmericanHort, said: “During the pandemic, agricultural workers, including horticultural workers, were properly recognized as essential workers, and these workers didn’t miss a beat! The past year has truly exposed the flaws and limitations in our immigration and visa system as it relates to these workers. The Senate should embrace critical first-step reforms that include Dreamers, long-time TPS holders and a Senate version of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. We at Costa Farms urge support for such an approach by Senators Rubio and Scott.”
Central Florida’s world-class economy is struggling amid a shortage of workers that’s threatening the region’s economic recovery across industries, from entertainment, hospitality and agriculture, to restaurants and healthcare. Sens. Rubio and Scott can help Central Florida’s economy bounce back from the pandemic by supporting immigration solutions such as the Durbin-Graham Dream Act of 2021, the Bennett-Crapo Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and the SECURE Act. This event follows a series of summits, including one led by Venezuelans in support of the SECURE Act — all urging Florida’s U.S. Senators to give permanence to Dreamers, TPS holders, essential workers and agricultural workers. It comes as U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas is expected to rule any day on potentially ending DACA, which would put the lives of Dreamers and their employers in disarray, further threatening our economic recovery.
Immigrants are essential to Central Florida
- There are over 490,000 immigrants residing in Central Florida who pay over $3 billion in local, state, and federal taxes, and have a spending power of over $10 billion.
- Almost 50% of workers in the Central Florida agricultural industry are immigrants. The agricultural industry holds the largest share of immigrant workers in the Central Florida region.
- In Orlando and its surrounding areas, one in three hospitality industry workers is an immigrant.
- Over 36,600 immigrants in Central Florida have started businesses and created new jobs for American workers, expanding their local economy and our workforce.
- In 2017, there were 29,545 immigrant entrepreneurs in the Orlando metro area. Immigrants were also 18.2 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs when compared to U.S.-born residents.
- There are currently 60,000 TPS recipients residing in Florida, many of them Venezuelans. Venezuelan leaders are a key constituency for Republicans in Florida and were instrumental in shaping the outcome of the 2020 elections in the state. The Venezuelan community fought long and hard for TPS designation and has worked side-by-side with both Republicans and Democrats in the process.
IMPAC Fund is the Florida chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) which 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. For more information go to impacfund.org.
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.