Florida’s economy needs immigrants.

Cuban-Americans benefited from the most liberal immigration policy in US history. This model has been proven to be sound from an economic and humanitarian perspective over the past 64 years.

Our country has been experiencing an immigration crisis for years. Now, as multiple outlets compete for viewers to deliver the most outrageous coverage possible, voters are once again demanding solutions.

We need bold leadership to guide us toward practical results, not divisive, scapegoating rhetoric.

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Visionary leaders must see immigrants not as a challenge but as an opportunity to strengthen our economy. All over the world, crises such as war, crime, economic collapse and natural disasters force people to leave their homes in search of safety and survival.

Your search for peace and prosperity leads you to our extraordinary American Dream. As it has throughout our history, America must welcome the current wave of immigrants and seize the moment while we have the chance.

Our economy is looking for new talent from top to bottom. Almost every state has more jobs than people looking for work. Meanwhile, thousands of talented and talented, intelligent and motivated people are begging to be a part of our great country. Both of these situations present us with a great opportunity if real leaders are willing to defend the proposed solutions.

One proposal would require our Congress to give states the flexibility to issue work permits to immigrants who can fill jobs needed by their employers.

Another option is the bipartisan Dignity Act recently introduced by Florida Republican Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar and Texas Democrat Veronica Escobar.

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It would allow U.S. citizens to apply for denial of admission to a noncitizen spouse, with an immigration judge making the final decision. Under his plan, immigrants would pay a total of $10,000 for a path to citizenship.

These prudent solutions are key to addressing America’s labor shortages and reducing inflation, according to a study published by the American Business Immigration Alliance and Texas A&M University.

In Florida, workers in the agriculture and hospitality industries are in high demand in the short term. It’s in our construction industry, healthcare, technology and every other economic niche.

Our current workforce is rapidly aging, predicting long-term critical shortages of jobs in medical facilities, utilities and other service industries.

I am well aware of the problems faced by immigrants. As a child in pre-Fidel Castro Cuba, I watched my father work hard, start and run several successful businesses, and improve his family’s life.

When the Communist Castro regime took over, we left everything behind and left Cuba. When I was 12, we moved to Mexico and eventually to New York, where I worked odd jobs to help pay for my education.

After proudly serving in the United States Army, I found my home in Florida and built a career that would make my mom and dad proud.

I am one of the millions of immigrants who have been accepted by our new country, pay taxes, and help make Miami what it is today: a vibrant, prosperous and multicultural community of entrepreneurs and workers.

Miami is the envy of cities around the world. Immigrants must find ways to enter the United States legally and apply for work permits so they can help sustain our economy.

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With all the hateful and anti-immigrant rhetoric spewing out of Tallahassee, I’m not naive enough to think that Florida’s immigration policies will see a complete reversal.

Unfortunately, politically driven fear in our state is pulling immigrants out of the sunshine and into the shadows, hurting our communities and depriving businesses of the skilled workers they need to continue to grow.

However, if all states were given the opportunity to sponsor employable immigrants and we saw great success, someone in our state capital might realize that demonizing immigrants and harming our economies and communities, but allowing them to obtain work permits, would help us. grow up

Those brave enough to try to fill this leadership void will be criticized. However, this is the definition of leadership: doing the right thing, not the easy thing. Opportunity calls out our boundaries.

Where is the intelligent leadership that answers?

Michael “Mike” b. Fernandez MBF is the Chairman of Healthcare Partners

Miami businessman Mike Fernandez, a Cuban exile and former Republican donor, called Gov. Ron DeSantis’ immigration policy for unaccompanied children “heartless and hateful” during a press conference Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, at the Archdiocese of Miami offices. Miami Shores. Miami Herald file photo

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