Floridian voters and taxpayers urge Sen. Rick Scott to support the American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio and ensure all Americans have access to critical COVID relief regardless of whom they married
In a press conference hosted by IMPAC Fund, Florida business leaders and GOP donors Mike Fernández, MBF Healthcare Partners Chairman, and Bob Dickinson, Carnival Cruise Lines Former CEO today joined local business owners and U.S. citizens and voters who continue to be left out of stimulus checks due to the immigration status of their spouse in calling on Senator Rick Scott to cosponsor the American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act introduced by Senator Marco Rubio, which aims to eliminate the GOP marriage penalty and provide stimulus checks to all U.S. citizens. Watch the recording of the press conference here.
With new polling finding that 84% of Republican voters and 91% of all voters support stimulus payments for U.S. citizens in mixed-status families, Mike Fernández, MBF Healthcare Partners Chairman and IMPAC/ABIC Co-Chair highlighted the political foolishness of not speaking up against the GOP marriage penalty. “Rick Scott was a good friend of mine. I was the largest donor to Rick Scott’s campaign for reelection.” Fernández went on to make a direct appeal to Senator Scott, stating, “You are in a position to help. That’s why you got elected. Don’t ignore those Floridians who you can help. And all you have to do is participate along with Senator Marco Rubio and others that support this logical position, and something that everyone in the country supports. So do not be AWOL. Do not disappear on us. Please show your face once again.”
Under the CARES Act, an estimated 81,000 Florida taxpayers and voters and 147,000 U.S. citizen children in mixed-status families were denied federal stimulus payments. Clara Discua, a U.S.-born citizen battling cancer and mother to disabled U.S. Veteran who served in Afghanistan, was among those not eligible for a stimulus payment because her husband uses his ITIN when filing taxes jointly.
“I’m a proud American citizen, and I was a registered Republican until 2016. I love my country, and I love my family,” said Discua. “I knew that we would not receive a stimulus check for my husband. But I never dreamed that as a U.S. Citizen and taxpayer that I would get punished because of who I married. I have had a very hard time paying my electric bill, for my mortgage, for groceries. The stimulus check was the money that I was counting on to make ends meet.”
Discua went on to implore Senator Scott to not forget her family in his approach to the next federal relief package. “I am asking Senator Rick Scott not to forget about me and my family. We need help. We have always paid our fair share of taxes, and I should not be punished, and our family’s sacrifices should not be ignored just because of the person I chose to marry.”
This sentiment was echoed by Bob Dickinson, Carnival Cruise Lines Former CEO and IMPAC/ABIC Board Member, who also referenced his decade-long relationship with the Senator. “I’ve known Rick Scott for about 10 years now. He cares for the people, he certainly did when he was Governor (of Florida). His silence is unconscionable. It’s like a turtle that puts his head in the sand. So many citizens have been so distraught and flabbergasted by his silence.” Dickinson went on to encourage Sen. Scott to explain why he hasn’t spoken up on this issue. “His silence to me suggests that his position is indefensible.”
The exclusion of U.S. citizens in mixed status families translates to an estimated combined loss of $341.4 million to the local Florida economy. Pilar Guzmán, Half Moon Empanadas CEO and IMPAC Board Member, whose Miami-based business had to close eleven locations in the wake of COVID-19, spoke to the impacts of denying this critical relief on small businesses like hers, stating, “This is a moment where consumer spending is critical.” Guzmán went on to call on other business leaders, citizens and taxpayers to reach out to Senator Scott with the following question: “What is your position, Senator, regarding these 200,000 Floridians who are citizens (…) and what are you going to do about it? We really want to hear from you, Senator, and we hope that you are going to support us.”
The virtual press conference, hosted by IMPAC Fund, the Florida chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition, also featured remarks from Dr. Kim Liu, a U.S. Citizen and acupuncturist also denied a $1,200 stimulus check due to delays in her Venezuelan wife’s employment authorization and social security number; and Kathy Bird Carvajal, IMPAC Fund Executive Director. Watch the recording of the press conference on vimeo here.
As a member of the American Business Immigration Coalition, the Immigration Partnership and Coalition (IMPAC) Fund works to change public policy around immigration through building a coalition of reasonable, rational moderates to facilitate bipartisan action that is economically necessary, politically smart, and morally correct. Learn more at https://impacfund.org.