Another Act dealing with immigration reform is floating on the horizon, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.
The focus of this latest proposed Act is that the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States are not going to leave the country on their own. That is a reality. To that end, this Act suggests offering them a chance to become legal and ideally obtain permanent residence and citizenship status —- so long as they pay fines, pass a background check, do not receive federal benefits and wait their turn in line behind millions of others who followed the rules.
There is a relatively long list of other requirements illegal immigrants would need to meet, raising the question of whether or not the Act would actually be viable. As it turned out, many citizens, on reading the latest attempt to make headway with immigration reform, pointed out a number of significant shortcomings and likely unintended consequences if the Act was moved forward as drafted. Many Floridians came up with other ideas and sent them to the politicians.
From the public sending in suggestions, many other bills and acts have made their way into the legislative process. It became an honored tradition to consult with the public at events called Idea Raisers. The results of the events has actually helped to shape the course of Florida’s stance on immigration reform.
Many Floridians have chosen to speak directly to their representatives, neighbors, their Senators, the media, or have taken to social media and blogging to make their ideas and feeling known. Immigration reform has fueled a virtual landslide of commentary, that according to the politicians, has made a difference in how they approach this tough issue in Florida.
Interestingly enough, much of the feedback from citizens demonstrates a distinct lack of understanding of the scope of the reform issue. To begin with, securing the border, other than in minute segments and at a staggering cost, is physically and financially not possible. Those that held concerns about exceptions and governmental discretion do not realize that each case is different and must be handled accordingly, and that all immigrants cannot be tarred with the same brush.
The upshot of Idea Raisers is that while there may be helpful suggestions garnered from public input, those ideas need to be tempered with the wisdom of the reality of immigration reform, which is a tough goal to achieve, as the past few decades have demonstrated. Will immigration reform get done this year? It does not look hopeful.