Business Monday

CEOs discuss the economic impact of undocumented immigrants

An activist, Tomas Kennedy, is pushed back after he threw his white flower toward the commissioners after the commission’s vote to back Mayor Carlos Gimenez to end Miami-Dade status as a sanctuary city on Friday, February 17, 2017.
An activist, Tomas Kennedy, is pushed back after he threw his white flower toward the commissioners after the commission’s vote to back Mayor Carlos Gimenez to end Miami-Dade status as a sanctuary city on Friday, February 17, 2017.

This week’s question: Do you think Miami-Dade County should embrace “sanctuary” status when it comes to undocumented immigrants, even at the risk of losing federal funding? What are the possible economic impacts of a crackdown on South Florida’s undocumented immigrants?

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There is no easy answer to immigration. I’ve read that the county’s 2017 budget shows it’s counting on receiving $355 million in federal funds for elderly services, beds for the homeless, police officers and other government expenses. That’s a lot of money and those are critical services that we can’t afford to lose.

Laurie Kaye Davis, executive director, The Commonwealth Institute South Florida

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As far as I know, Miami-Dade is not a sanctuary county. However, unless we enact significant regulatory and wage reforms, the business community’s insatiable demand for cheap labor will continue. There is a significant amount of energy directed toward the workers, with undetectable attention given to the employers. Better managing any immigration issue requires a more balanced approach.

Albert E. Dotson Jr., partner, Bilzin Sumberg

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Miami-Dade County has a responsibility to follow the laws of this country. If the county government does not agree with those laws, they should challenge them in a courtroom.

Alex Rodriguez-Roig, president, Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade

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​If federal funding is cut from here and the many other counties/cities involved, there will be more protests and backlash. The sanctuary program is the right thing for a country that is a world leader to do. We must stop this demonizing of foreigners and immigrants. ​

John Tanzella, president and CEO, International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association

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Miami was not a sanctuary city, so I don’t believe the Mayor needed to do what he did. The U.S. House of Representatives is in charge of the federal purse and most federal funding to local governments is done by federal grants that have already been enacted into law. Therefore, President Trump cannot cut off funding unilaterally.

Faith Read Xenos, co-founding partner, Singer Xenos

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The Miami Herald CEO Roundtable is a weekly feature that appears in Business Monday of the Miami Herald. Recent questions have included:

▪ How CEOs are responding to Trump’s immigration policies

▪ The most important issue facing South Florida this year? CEOs say it’s traffic

▪ Have you been to Cuba? CEOs discuss business and travel opportunities on the island

▪ CEOs discuss their resolutions for the New Year

▪ CEOs: Trump, ugly politics among the biggest surprises of 2016

▪ CEOs’ top request for Trump’s first 100 days: ‘Unity’

▪ CEOs won’t tolerate ugly comments in the workplace

▪ CEOs assess South Florida’s economy for 2017

▪ Did Obamacare hurt your business? South Florida CEOs respond

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A reminder:

Final day: Nominations open for the next Miami Herald CEO Roundtable

Twice each year, the Miami Herald invites a dozen top company executives to serve on our Business Monday CEO Roundtable. Now is that time! Please submit your nominations for new members. They can be CEOs of Fortune 500 companies or small business people who run their firms from Starbucks. Our goal: To give voice to a variety of viewpoints about the South Florida economic climate and business concerns. Members are asked to serve for six months. That means responding by email to questions posed by our editorial team on the specified deadlines. Please send suggestions to businesseditor@miamiherald.com by March 6 before midnight.

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