Florida’s business leaders and job creators depend on the entrepreneurship, optimism, and innovative spirit of our hardworking immigrants who are significant contributors to the state’s economy. They represent more than 25 percent of our workforce and employ more than 500,000 fellow Floridians. Many immigrants are in their prime working years, in contrast to an aging native-born workforce.
Florida should not go down the misguided and potentially dangerous path posed by HB9/SB308 or any similar legislation. As we work to rebuild our state in the wake of Hurricane Irma, HB9/SB308 would make it harder to find the workers needed for reconstruction efforts; it would require our schools and universities to act as immigration enforcers; and it would erode public trust in our communities by turning Florida into a “show me your papers” state.
A similar policy passed in Arizona resulted in the loss of $141 million in direct tourist spending and a 2 percent annual reduction in GDP from 2008 to 2015. Georgia’s anti-immigrant policy caused a 40 percent shortfall in agricultural workforce and $140 million in agricultural losses. Texas’ recently approved “show me your papers” policy is projected to shrink its economy by $78 billion and cost 875,000 Texans their jobs over the next decade.
Anti-immigrant legislation in any form is a threat to Florida’s reputation, our public safety, our ability to welcome tourists and recruit new workers, and ultimately, our economy. We encourage our elected leaders to gather all stakeholders to find common ground and address our state’s challenges in a way that promotes pro-business, pro-immigrant and pro-public safety policies.
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MBF Healthcare Partners,
Steve Ross, chairman, CEO,
Bob Dickinson, retired CEO,
Carnival Cruise Lines,
and 107 others