Former Miami Republican Mike Fernandez announced Wednesday he plans to invest $5 million into a new fund to help illegal immigrants pay their legal bills.
The billionaire donor was a long-time supporter of the Republican Party but left the party after President Donald Trump won the nomination at the Republican National Convention in July of 2016, according to the Miami Herald.
Fernandez donated over $1 million to start The Immigration Partnership and Coalition Fund, and pledged an additional $4 million as needed, according to the report.
“The simple goal is for every cent to go to defend the non-felon undocumented who are being targeted and arrested,” he said, calling the overwhelming number of illegal immigrants “hard-working people who help form the backbone of this country.”
“IMPAC brings together business and civic leaders in Florida who support policies and practices that recognize the important contributions that immigrants make to our economy and our communities,” the group’s website states. “Our organization’s efforts will be focused towards fundraising for the defense of non-felon undocumented residents to protect families. We recognize the importance that immigrants represent to the fiber of our community and its economic wellbeing.”
Fernandez chairs the Board of Directors, a group that includes former state Speaker of the House Allan Bense, CEO of Miami-based Brickell Motors Mario Murgado, and Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padrón.
“Immigrants are key to the fiber and the economic survival of our country,” Fernandez said in an interview with the Miami Herald. “We are hard workers. We clean rooms. We herd cattle. We pick fruits. We care for the elderly. If we were not doing it, nobody would be doing it.
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