Florida is home to numerous immigrants from Central American and Caribbean nations. According to one survey about one in five residents of the state was born in another country. Latinos are a major part of the immigrant community, and make up more than 23 percent of the state’s population.
Anyone paying attention to the current presidential election campaign knows that several candidates have made illegal immigration a major issue. As we discussed in a recent post, many Florida immigrants have responded to the anti-immigrant election rhetoric by applying for naturalization in order to gain the right to vote and have their voices heard this fall.
Not surprisingly, Florida’s large Latino community views immigration as a major issue in the political races. According to a recent poll, Latino voters said immigration was second only to jobs and the economy as an issue that should be addressed by political leaders. When asked to identify the most important issues confronting Latinos, immigration came first and the economy second.
Two immigration programs that have brought hope to many undocumented immigrants could be under threat, depending on the election’s outcome. One is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which would grant work permits to children who came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday and protect them from deportation. The other program is Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, which would make over 4 million residents exempt from deportation.
It is important that Florida residents seeking a green card, protection from deportation and ultimately citizenship understand their rights under U.S. immigration law. Consulting an experienced immigration lawyer can be the first step toward a more secure life in this country.
Source: sunshinestatenews.com, “Immigration Is Top Issue for President and Congress, Say Florida Latinos,” Allison Nielsen, April 22, 2016