While immigration reform continues to prompt heated debate from Florida residents and politicians alike, countless people across the country live day-to-day under the threat of deportation. Concerns over deportation and being separated from family in the U.S. dictate many people’s decisions regarding everything from their employment options to living arrangements, and immigration status can even play a role in the type and level of medical care that undocumented immigrants receive.
On Nov. 20, President Obama issued an immigration-based executive order that may be of interest to Florida residents. The new order protects against deportation for undocumented parents of lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens. In addition, the executive order is designed to help keep skilled workers in the country.
According to the United States Department of Homeland Security, immigrants who have come to Florida from countries that are facing extreme difficulties, such as war, famine or epidemics, may be eligible for Temporary Protected Status. Countries eligible for TPS are designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security, typically for temporary conditions that would makes it dangerous for nationals of that country to return home.
Florida residents may be interested in an article discussing the major differences between those who enter the country classified as immigrants versus those who are called refugees. These differences may have a large effect on how they are treated by the U.S. legal system.
A gay man from Honduras is attempting to get to Florida to fight for asylum status claiming that he faces danger in his native country because of his sexual orientation. Although the man may face immigration penalties if he is discovered, he is willing to take the risk that he perceives as being much less than the torture that he has endured.
Those in Miami who've followed the current push for federal immigration reform know that doubts have recently surfaced regarding whether or not the legislation proposed by the Senate last year would actually make it the agenda of this year's Congressional session. Mid-term elections and other financial topics have seemingly pushed the issue to the side. Yet recent comments from prominent leaders on both sides if the aisle have suggested that immigration remains at the forefront of the minds of federal lawmakers. Recent activity from Capitol Hill offers both good and potentially bad news on this front.
The issue of how to deal with undocumented immigrants remains the most hotly contested debate at the heart of immigration reform. Yet while the political movement of such reforms comes to a stalemate, immigration cases around the country, including right here in Miami, continue to test current U.S. immigration law and expose just how great the need for changes is.
Many in Miami have followed the recent federal debate over immigration reform with great interest. Florida's own Mario Diaz-Balart has been at forefront of this debate, often breaking away from the popular opinion of many of his fellow GOP colleagues in pushing for major reforms that would provide for an immediate path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, among other changes.
Jokes about politicians getting work done may abound, but state leaders might actually be more effective when they’re on holiday. At least that’s what some people are hoping as the U.S. Congress prepares for its summer recess. Many proponents and opponents of immigration reform are regarding the five-week break as a chance to meet with House members back in their own states, where they can share their views and hopefully inspire action.
For many families there is hope that new federal policies will directly benefit them and their loved ones. Though, that hope has not stopped thousands of unauthorized immigrants from being targeted and deported even as state and federal legislatures continue to debate over immigration reform issues. One recent case involving a Florida father’s fifth deportation serves as a sober reminder that discussions and legislation addressing topics like citizenship and immigration carry very real consequences for families around the country.