Tony Argiz to Cuban legislators: Don’t forget your roots

“I hope ... that Cuban legislators ... do not forget our own immigrant experience.”

The recent SB 168/HB 527 legislation proposing mass deportations of immigrants and refugees has sparked a debate about whether such policies are cruel or unnecessary. The call has been from some Cuban legislators in support of this measure.

Today, I lend my voice to this debate in opposition to SB 168/HB 527,  not as Chairman and CEO of MBAF, one of the top 40 accounting firms in the nation and the largest independent firm in Florida, but as someone who was brought to this country at the age of nine with nothing.

My parents sent me from Cuba to the U.S. alone as part of the Peter Pan exodus, and I have spent every day of my life grateful for this opportunity.

It is true I and other refugees benefited from the generous immigration policies that the U.S. offered Cubans for 60 years.

However, it was the kindness, mentoring and support of others that allowed me to actually live the American dream. Much of this assistance came from those outside the Cuban-American community, and my story would be very different without it. Those people did not help me because of their nationality or mine, they did so out of love and compassion.

I do not oppose this legislation because my heritage obligates me. I disagree with it because I remember how welcoming my community was to me, and I want to keep Florida a welcoming state.

I hope and pray that Cuban legislators leading the effort to separate other immigrant families through sb168/hb 527 do not forget our own immigrant experience. We have a responsibility to provide other immigrants the same opportunities and compassion we received.


Board member of IMPAC / ABIC, Tony Argiz is the Chairman and CEO of MBAF and Chairman of the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation, past-chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Council of 100 at Florida International.

Phil Ammann

Phil Ammann is a Tampa Bay-area journalist, editor and writer. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including His broad range includes covering news, local government, entertainment reviews, marketing and an advice column. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in Tampa with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached on Twitter @PhilAmmann or at [email protected].


  • Dan

    April 30, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    The ONLY purpose in allowing Illegal Aliens and false Asylum seekers is to drive down the value of labor and increase the profiteering of the few. We have always welcomed over a million legal immigrants with merit but there is no need to allow more welfare recipients to feed off of the common tax payer while lowering their worth. The United States is a SOVEREIGN Nation and we can invite immigration on a need and desire of the citizens, not that of foreign individuals. Now if the corporations paid for all education, medical, housing, food stamps and welfare of everyone on the rolls out of their profits, instead of our taxes and wages, then it could be considered. Each company hiring Illegals or Green Card Asylum seekers who have not had their day in court should be fine $10,000 per instant, then see the accountants squirm.

  • gary

    April 30, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    Dan hit it out of the park! We invite you on our rules. Not your rules! We need to do what is healthy for our economy and our culture! From 1924 to 1946 we ceased accepting immigrants. Not because we are racist, but because we need the current flock to assimilate TO OUR CULTURE! To allow unlimited access without assimilation would be an unarmed invasion

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