The State of Florida is home to some 4.5 million immigrants, more than half of whom are now naturalized citizens. Among the rest, over 700,000 are undocumented, with nearly a million Floridians having at least one undocumented immigrant in their immediate family. For decades now, the laws and processes around immigration have been a top-of-mind issue for millions in our state and across the country, and it's not hard to see why.
Unfortunately, while there's plenty of talk about immigration in Washington and Tallahassee, there's all too little work being done towards real progress on it. Many politicians seem more concerned about games of political theater than meaningful solutions, and our major parties have all too much to gain from playing upon our fears - be those fears of immigrants, or fearing for them. All that leaves us with a mess of policy, and bad policy means crises on the border, unrest and uncertainty (that politicians continue to play upon), and ultimately division and tension throughout our society.
Good immigration policy, on the other hand, means practical programs and structures that take into account the human realities at the border. It means clarity and consistency around the pathways towards entry and citizenship. And it means sustainable ways to welcome and integrate our newest Americans into our communities, so that we can better move forward together.