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Local legislation could reflect a shift in opinion on immigration

The current federal debate over immigration reform may leave some of those Miami hoping for changes discouraged. For years, immigration reform advocates and politicians on both sides of the aisle have been proclaiming that the current U.S. immigration policy needs revising, yet agreeing on those revisions has proven difficult, The biggest obstacle to compromise on this issue seems to be the treatment of the millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. Yet despite the obstacles that recent immigration reform legislation has encountered in Washington, the mere fact that this has become such a hot button topic can be seen as a paradigm shift regarding U.S. immigration law.

One need only look at the changes seen amongst lawmakers right here in Florida to see how the attitude toward undocumented immigrants is shifting. Recent years have seen individual states attempt to pass their own immigration reforms while awaiting the issue to be resolved nationally. Just three years ago, many Florida lawmakers supported local legislation that took a hardline stance on undocumented immigrants. Yet within the last month, many of these same state senators and representatives voted for legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants the benefit of in-state college tuition.

While support for this most recent bill certainly doesn’t mean that these lawmakers’ views on immigration have totally changed, many may see it as a softening in the general attitude towards undocumented immigrants. Those hoping to see immigration reforms sooner rather than later can only hope that attitude continues to change at both the state and national level. Those hoping to benefit from such changes may wish to speak with an immigration attorney to see how they might be affected. 

Source: USA Today “Voices: Attitudes soften toward undocumented immigrants” Alan Gomez, Mar. 27, 2014

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