Diego Garcia came to Miami when he was 11 years old. His family received E-1 visas, which provide legal status for five years. When Diego was a teenager, he wasn’t able to renew his visa and was days away from becoming undocumented. Despite his immigration status, Diego fought to be able to attend University of Florida, and later graduated with a degree in nuclear engineering. He wants to stay in America – the country he calls home – but his future is uncertain because of our broken immigration system. Diego’s story is just one of thousands in Florida, and across the United States.
Immigration has had a huge impact on Florida’s culture and economy. Florida’s labor force is almost 25% foreign-born, and nearly 30% of Florida business owners are immigrants. With such a large immigrant population, Florida will gain a powerful economic boost from President Obama’s executive actions on immigration reform. By 2025, the new programs created by executive immigration action will increase Florida’s GDP by $4.3 billion to $10 billion.
253,000 people are eligible for the expansion of DACA and creation of DAPA in Florida, gaining the opportunity to apply for work permits and live without fear of deportation and separation from their families. We know that these programs are the right choice for America’s – and Florida’s – families and economy.
“I love energy policy, it’s what drives me,” explained Diego, who hopes immigration action will allow him to secure a more permanent immigration status. “I love this country. I feel American.”