FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 31, 2020

PRESS CONTACT:
Alia El-Assar | aelassar@americanbic.biz

Dozens of Florida Small Businesses & Trade Associations Applaud U.S. Senator Marco Rubio for Leadership on Economic Recovery and Immigrant Inclusion During Pandemic

ABIC urges Sen. Rubio to push Leader McConnell to get all U.S. citizens included in next stimulus package

(Miami, FL) – Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio joined dozens small business owners from across the state of Florida who received loans via the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with assistance from IMPAC Fund in a Zoom video call to share their experiences during the pandemic, and discuss the Senator’s push to ensure U.S. citizens in mixed-status families are not yet again denied stimulus checks in the next round of federal COVID relief being negotiated in Congress. Listen to Senator Rubio’s remarks starting at 08:03 here.

“The Paycheck Protection Program offered a critical lifeline to small businesses and their employees in the midst of a global pandemic,” Chairman Rubio said. “I am thankful to ABIC for their engagement and partnership, and inspired by the persistence and dedication of those small business owners I talked with today. Unfortunately, the crisis is not over, so we must do more to avoid deep, systemic damage to our economy and labor markets. I am confident that we will ultimately find agreement and help preserve and strengthen our nation’s small businesses. And I remain hopeful that we will also clarify in law that all U.S. Citizens, regardless of who they are married to, are eligible for federal stimulus checks. Not only is it fair and morally right, but it’s a direct infusion to the local economy benefiting businesses and citizens alike.”

Miren Oca, Founder and Owner of Ocaquatics swimming school in Miami, was among the business owners to share their personal stories with the Senator. “We are very grateful to have received PPP funding with the help from IMPAC Fund. We were able to keep all 126 of our team members employed during this time,” said Oca. She went on to express the need for additional small business relief, with no clear end to the pandemic in sight.

Oca’s swimming school represents one of over 33 businesses employing upwards of 1,000 individuals in Florida and South Carolina that secured a combined $4.5 million dollars in forgivable PPP loans thanks to technical assistance provided by IMPAC Fund, the Florida chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC). The majority of businesses helped by IMPAC were Black and/or immigrant-owned. Hear more from small businesses and nonprofits assisted by IMPAC’s PPP TA here.

Mario Murgado, CEO of Brickell Motors and IMPAC Board Member, expressed gratitude to Senator Rubio for championing policies to help the most vulnerable in his state, including underserved small business owners under PPP and voting U.S. citizens left out of critical COVID relief due to who they love via the American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act.

The bill introduced by Sen. Rubio and Sen. Tillis (R-NC) would remove the marriage penalty found in the CARES Act, which prevented 81,000 Florida taxpayers and voters and 147,000 U.S. citizen children in mixed-status families from receiving federal stimulus payments, based on data from the Migration Policy Institute. The proposal, however, was excluded from the Senate’s $1 trillion HEALS Act by Leader McConnell.

The exclusion of nearly 228,000 Florida citizens from critical relief results in a combined estimated loss of $341.4 million to the local economy as COVID-19 cases rise to record-highs and the state likely faces another round of closures.

Among those excluded in Florida is Kim Liu, a U.S. citizen, voter and business owner married to a non-citizen originally from Venezuela. “I was counting on the $1200 stimulus check for me as a U.S Citizen,” Liu said. “I just learned that the reason I did not receive a check is because my spouse, an immigrant from Venezuela, does not have a social security number yet. I believe that all U.S. citizens should be able to access these critical resources during this economic crisis.”

Denying U.S. citizens access to stimulus checks is morally wrong, economically harmful and politically foolish for Republican Senators in key battleground states. This sentiment was echoed by Liu: “As a voter, I will remember (Senator Rubio’s) hard work in advocating for families like mine, and I will remember those who didn’t, as well.”

A recent poll conducted by Hart Research Associates found that just 9% of registered voters — including only 16% of Republicans—believe Americans in mixed-status families should be denied coronavirus relief funds.

“I ask everyone to call upon your U.S. senators to support Senator Rubio and Senator Tillis’ bill for U.S. citizens married to immigrants. It is morally right, economically important and politically smart,” said Tony Argiz, Chairman and CEO of MBAF and IMPAC Board Member.

IMPAC Fund and ABIC thanks Senate Republican champion Marco Rubio for his leadership in securing critical resources for Floridians that need it the most, as well as his fellow Republican co-sponsors, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Susan Collins (R-MA) and Mitt Romney (R-UT). We urge the Senators to continue pushing Leader McConnell to include all American families in the final relief package negotiated by Congress through this commonsense proposal.

We also call on Senator Rick Scott to join his colleagues and act in the interest of his constituents and the Florida economy by supporting the inclusion of all U.S. citizens in critical coronavirus relief.


The American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) promotes commonsense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides American 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.