Floridians call for immigration reform

Published On: Jul 09 2014 04:35:21 PM EDT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Floridians want a better immigration policy -- at least according to a new poll released Wednesday. And business groups are joining the call for immigration reform.

The groups didn’t know whether or not the recent surge of unaccompanied children entering the country illegally would prompt Congress to act. The President has asked for nearly $4 billion of aid to help the more than 60,000 children without parents who have crossed the border.

The call for national immigration reform came from the Sunshine State on Wednesday.
Business and faith groups stood together touting a just released survey showing that voters in both Florida and the rest of the country say our borders need fixing.

“An overwhelming majority of voters, including an overwhelming majority of Republicans are convinced the immigration system is broken,” said Rudy Fernandez, former assistant to President George W. Bush.

Poll results showed that two out of three voters want a plan that strengthens border protections and increased visas for high-skilled workers and farm laborers. Florida’s business leaders agreed.

The Florida Chamber said that a lack of immigration reform is actually handcuffing the state’s workforce.

Leticia Adams with the chamber said Florida businesses are out of luck after the country hits a 65,000 visas per year cap.

“The process is outdated, burdensome, and there’s just not enough visas to go around,” Adams said.

The stakes are higher for people like Juan Escalante. Escalante immigrated to the United States from Venezuela as a child. He’s protected from deportation as a childhood arrival, but his parents have no guarantees.

“The fear is that my parents could be taken away from me at any time,” Escalante said. “That’s something that’s non-negotiable for me. My parents have worked hard, paid their taxes.”

The push for reform was part of the national day of action -- with at least 60 other events being held around the country.

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