NEW POLL: Half of Venezuelan Americans in Florida say they won’t support Senators Rubio and Scott if they don’t back a path to legal status
Venezuelan and pro-economy organizations also made the economic case for the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for TPS holders through reconciliation, urging Congress to act.
MIAMI, FL — Today the Venezuelan American Alliance, IMPAC Fund (the Florida chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition – a bipartisan group of 1200 CEOs and employers across the country) – and Venezuelan organizations from across the state of Florida released a poll showing that Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott stand to lose support among half of their state’s 90,000 eligible Venezuelan-American voters should they oppose a pathway to permanent citizenship for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
The poll, conducted by Florida International University professor and Integrated Communications & Research founder Dr. Eduardo Gamarra, found that 49 percent of all Venezuelans in Florida will no longer support politicians who obstruct a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s more than 300,000 TPS-eligible Venezuelan residents and other TPS-eligible immigrants. 52% of respondents stated their support for President Biden had increased as a result of the promise of a pathway to permanent status for TPS recipients, while 60% of Venezuelans in Florida reject false claims from public officials that the increase in COVID cases is the fault of immigrants crossing the border from Mexico. The poll sampled responses from 506 Venezuelan Floridians.
“Venezuelans say they would not support either Senator if they were to oppose permanence,” said Dr. Gamarra. “While more Democrats will stop supporting these two senators than Republicans, it still is a bipartisan message to political leadership in Florida. Among those who say they are registered, the majority say they would not support the senators were they to oppose the extension of permanence.”
The poll dropped at a critical moment in the fight to include a pathway to citizenship for TPS recipients in the upcoming Budget Reconciliation process. Among the poll’s other significant
American Business Immigration Coalition’s Executive Director Rebecca Shi highlighted the critical role immigrants play in Florida’s economy and the high stakes Florida’s senators face in withholding support for immigration reform.
“One in four Floridians are immigrants. Immigrant workers make up nearly 50 percent of Florida’s agriculture industry, 32 percent of construction, 42 percent of healthcare and healthcare aides. Many of these immigrants have protective temporary status,” said Shi. “Despite the strong economic and political support, despite being one of the largest immigrant states in the nation, two Florida senators – Rick Scott and Marco Rubio – are turning their backs on now-legal immigrants…This poll is a wake up call to Republicans in general that swing states like Florida and their electoral future could be jeopardized by their head-in-the-sand attitude…We urge Senate Democrats to include immigration reform in reconciliation. It is economically important, morally right and politically smart.”
The poll’s release is timely. This past Friday, September 10th, Democratic and Republican Senate aides met with the Senate Parliamentarian to make the case for and against inclusion of immigration within reconciliation – no decision has been announced. On Monday, September 14 the House Judiciary Committee completed the bill’s markup and passed it out of committee to provide a path to citizenship for dreamers, immigrants with TPS, farm workers and essential workers.
There are more than 60,000 TPS holders currently residing in Florida, with this number expected to grow as over 320,000 Venezuelans and 95,000 Haitians are now eligible for TPS. They earn more than $880 million in household income and pay over $89.4 million in state and local taxes.
Additional comments included:
Leonard Boord, IMPAC Fund, Board Member; Founder, Slon Capital: “Reconciliation may be the last chance to do what we, the American people, want and what our economy needs to continue its efforts during this pandemic. If we fail to pass these immigration solutions now, we are at risk of losing over 800,000 DACA recipients, over 400,000 TPS recipients and billions of dollars in economic and tax contributions that are necessary to grow our economy. 2021 has to be the year to get immigration solutions across the finish line.”
Dr. Ricardo Hausmann, Director of the Growth Lab and Professor of the Practice of International Political Economy, Harvard University: “I urge you with all my heart, give Venezuelans, who are currently under temporary protection, a path to citizenship. It will be good for them, but it will be even better for the U.S. It will allow them to contribute fully to this great nation.”
María Antonieta Diaz, President, Venezuelan American Alliance: “I own a small business that for 21 years has benefited from the extraordinary workforce of Hispanics. 60 Percent of our employees will be beneficiaries of a path to citizenship and it will allow them to continue contributing to the economy and give them the peace of mind of visualizing their professional and family life in the long term. According to the Hispanic U.S.Chamber of Commerce, 4.7 million Hispanic-owned businesses contribute over $800 billion to the American economy every year. Latinos continue to launch businesses at faster rates than the national average across several industries, growing 34 percent over the last ten years, compared to 1 percent for all other small businesses… Each of us has a family member or friend who will benefit from a path to citizenship. Therefore the Venezuealen community in the state of Florida and its leaders are united behind including immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship through reconciliation and are making a clear economic case for it. Poll results and voices from our community show that not only do Venezuelans in Florida support a pathway to citizenship for TPS recipients, they factor whether or not to support an elected official, in large part, based on this issue.”
Norma Camero-Reno, Former President, Casa de Venezuela Tampa; Republican Activist: “Thousands of Venezuelans and other immigrants have brought and continue to bring their talents, education and culture to enrich our American economy and society. They seek the same American dream that generations of Americans have utilized as a beacon of hope as they make our country great. They are escaping murderous dictatorial regimes and failed socialist countries. And most importantly, through their hard work and perseverance, they are strengthening our American economy… In this moment of truth, as Americans, I believe we must seek a permanent solution. That is why, as a conservative leader and Venezuelan American, I support a pathway to citizenship for TPS holders through reconciliation. It is time to get it done.”
Note: Complete poll results are available upon request.
The Venezuelan American Alliance seeks to create awareness of the social, political and economic situation in Venezuela among the United States government and population, to advocate for legislation, regulation and programs to support and promote freedom, democracy and human rights for its population and diaspora, and help regain the road to prosperity.
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.