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Florida's Newly Proposed Immigration Laws

In early May, the Florida Senate approved a new bill to control the illegal immigration issue that has been a topic of interest for many states including, Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia. The Florida Senate is still awaiting for House approval to make this new bill official, but its impact has garnered mixed reviews and even protests from immigration and civil rights groups. Florida, being a major migration destination for most Caribbean and Latin American countries, finds itself in the middle of this debate because of the new laws introduced and the growing population of legal and illegal immigrants. There are approximately 11 million illegal immigrants working in the United States.

Twenty other states are now considering following Arizona's suit with new and improved laws addressing the immigration issue and illegals in the country. These anti-immigration laws have been a controversial topic for the past year because of the risk of abuse and potential racial profiling that is arguably the "bigger" issue. These new laws would require immigrants of all statuses to carry identification documents and immigration papers to prove that they are legal to be in the United States.

The Florida immigration laws differ from the Arizona model and is said to garner more support and less controversial attention. Individuals stopped on suspicion of committing crimes will have their immigration status checked. It will also require all private employers to use E-Verify, a federal verification database. The new bill will require law enforcement to make "a reasonable effort" in pursuing illegal immigrants when making arrests and eventually send them to federal officials for deportation. Illegal immigrants, a.k.a "violators," risk fines up to $2,500, six months in jail and even deportation if discovered by law enforcement officials using E-Verify. The new proposed laws address many aspects of this issue, including bond rulings through sentencing. Immigration advocates challenge the new laws, claiming that it would invite lawsuits from those wrongly arrested or interrogated that were ultimately legal to be in the United States, or were wrongfully suspected of committing a crime just to check their immigration status.

The public's reaction to these new immigration laws varies. There have been threats of boycotts in Arizona, which would greatly affect its economy. The Obama Administration was forced to interfere because of how controversial and unconstitutional some of the provisions were. Groups of legal and illegal immigrants have voiced their opinions through protesting, arguing that these new laws are unconstitutional and encouraged racism against foreigners. Many challenge these laws, recognizing that most Americans do not want the jobs that immigrants are working—whether it's agricultural labor, construction or hotel jobs. Some argue that the immigration issue is a federal responsibility, not a state responsibility.

What is clear is that many States have grown tired of the Federal Government's inaction on the issue of immigration and States are now taking the initiative of passing harsh laws that can dramatically affect legal and illegal immigrants. It is important for legal immigrants and illegal immigrants to understand their rights with these changes in the laws. It is imperative you seek out an experienced Daytona Beach Immigration Lawyer to get advice on how these changes may affect your status. If you have an opportunity to become legal through a family based petition or you are a Legal Permanent Resident and you want to Naturalize and become a U.S. citizen to avoid any potential issues now is the time to seek out legal advice. If you or a loved one has been arrested and detained on an ICE or immigration hold as a result of these new laws it is critical you hire an attorney to explore the opportunity to avoid a possible deportation through a possible Cancellation of Removal.
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