A billionaire Cuban healthcare exec and results-driven immigration policy advocate, Mike Fernandez, challenges Trump Administration immigration policies with a funding initiative to provide legal help to undocumented individuals. Already backed with $5 million, Fernandez’ effort takes direct aim at increased enforcement measures adopted with Donald Trump’s presidency.
Fernandez, who left the Republican Party with Donald Trump’s party nomination, currently holds formal Independent Party affiliation. According to reports, Fernandez “joined forces with the Obama administration on their new Cuba policy.” With the newly-formed Immigration Partnership & Coalition (IMPAC) Fund, geared toward “fundraising for the defense of non-felon undocumented residents to protect families,”
Fernandez has already put in $1 million of his own money and has pledged an additional $4 million to the cause, which will pay organizations providing legal services to immigrants. Endorsements for the organization include Alonzo Mourning, a player for the Miami Heat, renowned Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padrón as well as celebrities Emilio and Gloria Estefan. The Miami Herald notes IMPAC board members as also including Florida House Speaker Allan Bense and CNN commentator, Ana Navarro.
With an ultimate funding goal of $10 million, IMPAC’s game plan begins in Florida and then is set to expand nationally.
“For weeks, Fernandez has been traveling the country to build his coalition and meet with political heavyweights and business people who have backed similar pro-immigration efforts,” according to The Herald.
Fernandez acknowledges Cuban-American uncaring characterizations about immigration, which stems from easy paths to citizenship for the group and that Cubans represent such a dominant part of the Miami population, making the city a kind of bubble.
“Most Cuban Americans who are here as immigrants have very little empathy,” Fernandez says. “And, if they do, they don’t show it towards others that have less than they do.”
The real point, Fernandez argues, is that America is a destination for immigrants because it offers opportunity.
“What made this country is not a unique ethnic group or religion. It’s not a country that uses its incredible military power to subdue them. It’s a country made of diversity,” he says, “It’s like two metals that you put together to come up with a stronger steel, and that’s where our advantage comes from.”