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Religious, business and political leaders press Scott and Rubio on immigration reform

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Bishop John G. Noonan of the Orlando Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church speaks during an online forum intended to promote comprehensive immigration reform.

A bipartisan group of religious, political and business leaders held an online forum Tuesday aimed at U.S. Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio.

The leaders are urging them to support comprehensive immigration reform and three bills currently in Congress: the Dream Act of 2021, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and the Secure Act.

The bills protect so-called Dreamers brought to the U.S. as kids, grant lawful status to farmworkers and provide a path to permanent residency for Venezuelan, Haitian and other immigrants here under temporary protective status.

Immigration advocates and Orlando Catholic Bishop John Noonan spoke. But much of the message came from business leaders in hospitality and agriculture, like Craig Regelbrugge of AmericanHort.

“Immigrant employees are important in so many industries,” he said. “In agriculture, and particularly in Florida agriculture, they are the bedrock, they are the foundation.”

Former Florida GOP leader Al Cardenas is on the board of the IMPAC Fund, which organized the forum.

“It’s very simple,” he said. “In my opinion, if the two senators from Florida said they would sponsor these bills, they would happen.”

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.