Since Florida is a popular destination for immigrants, it is imperative that employers keep tabs on the legal status of those individuals who are working for them. The state's immigration law statutes make several requirements of employers when it comes to verification and storage of workers' data.
Attitudes regarding immigration seem to be changing in Florida as at least one Republican has done a complete turnaround in his views on the topic. Three years ago, he wanted to pass a tough bill to discourage immigration. Recently, he expressed his support for a bill that would give in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants who were in college. He explained that even he, whose ancestors had arrived in this country in the 17th century, was an immigrant and that he supported providing undocumented immigrants an education since they planned to live here. He elaborated that the status of parents should not affect how much tuition a student pays.
A bill that recently passed the Florida House would give the children of undocumented immigrants the ability to pay the same rates as other students if they attend college in the state. The law says that students who went to high school in the state for four years would get a tuition waiver. Residents who go to an in-state college typically pay around 25 percent of what an out-of-state student would pay to attend.
Due to the federal government shutdown in late 2013, many people in Florida and around the country had their hearings delayed for months or years. These individuals were waiting to apply for asylum or for legal permanent resident status.
Florida could be one of the states that is most impacted by one of the immigration changes introduced by the Obama administration. Some people who are trying to come to the United States to flee from persecution in other countries may now find that process easier, even if they have provided some support to terrorist groups in the past. The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security are now taking the position that people who have given support to terrorists won't be automatically prevented from coming to the U.S.
Advocates for immigration reform In Florida haven't given up hope that their efforts will be rewarded. They want to make an easier way for about 11 million illegal immigrants to become citizens and have taken an activist approach through personal, albeit sometimes unwanted, contacts with House Republicans. They have even placed pressure on President Obama to stop deportations.
Travelers coming to the United States must satisfy immigration officials who are stationed at border crossings at airports, such as Miami International Airport, that they are legally entitled to enter the country. A U.S. citizen usually has an easy time passing through immigration checkpoints and into the country, but this was not the case for a woman whose citizenship was questioned by officials.
The immigration battle has traditionally been fought over who would be permitted to have legal status. However, a November conference in Miami hosted by the Florida Immigrant Coalition shifted the immigration focus from enacting regulations for individuals to helping new arrivals transition to life in this nation, no matter their status. The conference brought 600 participants together in an effort to help people succeed in their respective communities.
In Florida, family members who have immigrated to the United States may be able to find relief under pending federal immigration laws. Lawmakers in the House recently introduced legislation that would seek to bring together family members who were torn apart by past immigration law violations. A representative from Texas and one from New Mexico have put forth the legislation in the House. If the immigration law gains approval, then it may provide for greater unity among Democrats and Republicans.