TAMPA, FL – Today, State Representative Susan Valdés, ABIC Action, Mi Familia Vota and other prominent community leaders are convening to address the negative impact of SB1718 on Tampa and the rest of Florida. The speakers will present solutions that the federal government can implement, such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and work permit expansion.
“We have already begun to see the disastrous effects of this largely anti-immigrant law on our state’s largest economic sectors,” said State Representative Susan Valdés (D-Tampa).
“This new law is unintentionally targeting a large portion of the Hispanic and Latino community due to the provisions of this law and how different actors have to comply with it. I urge our business, faith, and legal communities to come together to create a commonsense solution that works for our diverse state of Florida. While we navigate this dark and difficult period in our state’s history, I urge fellow Floridians who are undocumented to not leave the state.”
“Florida was built by immigrants,” said Romy Moreno, Florida State Deputy Director, ABIC Action,”but the anti-immigrant law pushed by Governor DeSantis that took effect this summer has seriously restricted immigrants’ ability to help with the functioning of Florida, especially after hurricane disasters, and to contribute to the economy of the state. This isn’t right. That’s why we’re calling on President Biden to expand legal work options for both newcomers to Florida and longtime immigrants, including through the expansion of parole for long-time workers, Dreamers without DACA, spouses of US citizens and other long-term contributors, as well as TPS redesignation.”
The president has the authority under current immigration law to expand work permits to immigrants who have lived and worked in the U.S. for years without a work permit, and to new arrivals, including those holding Temporary Protected Status (TPS) permits. President Biden also must remove the uncertainty in the lives of TPS holders and others in the U.S. with temporary permits, who fear their permits will end and force deportations.
“The absence of immigrant labor will exact a very high price on the state of Florida, and it’s already too late to rectify the mistake,” said Soraya Marquez, Florida State Director at Mi Familia Vota. “SB 1718 has forced 40% of the immigrant community, who built this state, to seek new horizons. There are still no concrete figures on the impact of the absence of this workforce that worked in sectors supporting the Sunshine State’s economy, now turned into a state of shadow and darkness. The state where the governor dismisses an elected official, disrespecting the people’s sovereign power. If you are a citizen and live in Florida, only your vote will change the course, and together we can strengthen democracy to continue living in freedom.”
“Our Florida legislators and governor must stop this wave of anti-hispanic laws that are creating a hostile space for all Latinos. They generate fear in our community and hate towards them,” said Eliseo Santana, LULAC Florida State Director. “Stop the abuse of power being directed toward our state’s most essential workforce.”
Mercedes Young, CEO of Vivid Consulting Group and President of Tampa Bay Hispanic Chamber of Commerce added: “The Hispanic business community is the pillar and backbone of this nation, we are progressive and we are here to stay.“
“Nowadays, more than ever, we are seeing a great increase of homeless families because they cannot afford to rent an apartment if they cannot work in the agricultural sector, hotels, construction fields and other areas. It is time to act and assure that our families are safe,” said Linda Perez, Boricuas de Corazón. “The United States of America is an example of democracy and I can not explain how we can help others around the world but cannot solve issues internally. It is time to stand up and fight for the people that we appreciate and bring food and products to our table. And they are our immigrants.”
Florida needs immigrants.
- More than one in five Florida residents were born abroad, representing the 4th largest immigrant population in the country.
- One in four workers in Florida is an immigrant, making up a vital part of the state’s labor force in a range of industries, from agriculture and hospitality to manufacturing and healthcare.
- As consumers, immigrant households add more than one-hundred thirty-eight billion dollars to Florida’s economy each year, with a spending power of almost $108 billion.
- Immigrants in Florida have contributed tens of billions of dollars in taxes, paying over $30 billion in federal, state and local taxes each year.
- Immigrant entrepreneurs in Florida generate over $8 billion in business revenue each year, and over 34% of all entrepreneurs in Florida are immigrants.