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.
Miami residents might be interested to learn about a man who was recently approved for a humanitarian visa. Born in Mexico, the man was brought to the United States by his family when he was 2 years old. Although the man was previously granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, he effectively deported himself when he took his dying mother back to Mexico.
Representatives from Florida and California have collaborated to introduce a bill designed to assist immigrants as they adjust to life in American society. The immigration process can be challenging for newcomers, and the legislation endeavors to ensure access to programs that will help with needs such as learning English and civics. Labeled as the New American Success Act, the bill would allow the creation of a National Office of New Americans, an oversight agency that would offer counsel and coordination for varied organizations and agencies dedicated to assisting immigrants as they acclimate to a new culture. Additionally, the Task Force on New Americans would be established to monitor policies related to integration. The task force would make recommendations to members of Congress as well as to the executive branch.
In a decision that may surprise many in Florida, the Supreme Court ruled on June 9 that immigrant children will be moved to the back of the line to obtain their visas when they turn 21. This includes those who came to the United States with their parents and have been waiting to become citizens for years.
Most in Miami probably already know that there a number of advantages that those immigrants who've either attained U.S. citizenship or been granted permanent residency enjoy over undocumented immigrants. Yet with the number of undocumented immigrants growing every year, federal and state lawmakers are beginning to realize the need to extend certain benefits to this demographic, as well. While proposed federal legislation has continually stalemated in Washington, many states have been able to pass their own laws to offer assistance to undocumented immigrants.
As many in Miami already know, reforms to current U.S. immigration law have been a hot topic of discussion recently on Capitol Hill. While the need for immigration reform has been recognized by members on both sides of the aisle for quite some time, actions have taken a lot longer to catch up to words. A bill proposing sweeping immigration reforms from the Senate passed from President Obama's desk to the House last summer. Yet disputes over certain aspects of the bill stalled its momentum. With economic issues taking precedence in the current legislative session, as well as an election cycle on the horizon, whisperings had begun to circulate that the issue of reform was dead for now.
There are currently more than 11 million illegal immigrants estimated to be living in Miami and throughout the U.S. And while a majority of Americans agree on the need to provide these undocumented immigrants with a path to permanent residency or citizenship, recent attempts at reforming U.S. immigration policy have reached a political stalemate. Yet that has not stopped the current administration from enacting some changes that now allow for new residency opportunities for select groups of illegals.
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.
It’s estimated that there are over 12 million immigrants currently living in Miami and elsewhere across the United States illegally. The current status of these immigrants and their future naturalization prospects have long been at the heart of the immigration debate going on amongst lawmakers. Almost all involved in the discussion agree that the current U.S. immigration policy needs reform, yet the path to citizenship for illegals seems to be major stumbling block to the passage of any proposed legislation. Such a bill was passed in the Senate last year, but stalled in the House as GOP representatives disagreed with the proposed reforms regarding illegals. Similar legislation drafted by Congressional Democrats also seems unlikely to win supporters on the other side of the aisle.