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States lose enthusiasm for immigration limitations

Florida citizens and employers are part of a nationwide trend away from enthusiasm for the onerous and complicated citizenship processes and immigrant crackdowns. Farmers are having crops go to waste in the fields because they cannot find enough employees to pick them. State guest worker programs have been suspended in their development as concerned groups waited in vain for guidance from Washington. Although the restart of the American government has put immigration reform back as one of the top priorities for Congress, there has been little movement yet and no way to predict what will happen next.

Immigration law took a turn for the harsh and restrictive during the Bush presidency. However, state legislatures are discovering to their chagrin that blanket enforcement policies such as those pioneered by Arizona's S. B. 1070 are expensive, counterproductive and exceedingly unpopular with a wide swath of the electorate. They have proven costly to defend in court and have unforeseen repercussions at election time.

Farmers are losing entire harvests because they cannot find the workers to pick them, and this is occurring from Utah to Florida. The American agricultural and manufacturing system requires constant influxes of guest workers and immigrant employees in order to function at current prices. What is more, many states are recognizing the societal value of keeping families together and allowing immigrants to come to America as a group. Crackdowns on driver's licenses and public housing are costly and produce few results of clear value.

With the differing attitudes towards legislation and enforcement, it can be difficult to plot a legal course to citizenship or to bring guest workers and family members into the country. States like Arizona and California have diametrically opposed attitudes towards immigration. An attorney who is experienced in immigration law may be able to help anyone wishing to navigate the American immigration system.

Source: LA Times, "States back off from enacting immigration laws", Cindy Carcamo, October 12, 2013

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