MIAMI (CBS4) – Dozens of immigrants and advocates from around Florida gathered in Tallahassee praying they could stop a senate bill that would significantly reform Florida immigration policy.
Senate bill 2040 would check that all new hires are citizens according to a federal database or have to verify their Florida license is real. Anyone convicted of a serious crime could be subject to an immigration check as well. As for enforcement it would be left to each county to decide.
The issue is obviously very divisive.
“There has to be accountability so I agree with it.” Javier Gomez, a Miami-Dade resident told us in support of the bill.
Sitting across from him Julian Moses had a different opinion.
“I disagree with it. I think it’s similar to the situation in Arizona. Especially Florida being a heavily immigrated state,” said Moses.
Despite standing room only in the judiciary committee hearing Monday to speak on the issue public comment was summed up.
Chairwoman Anitere Flores, (R) Miami, read off a list of dozens of names all against the bill. The senators then took up a three minute debate.
Flores told the crowd “The reason that we are moving forward with this is unfortunately our federal government and an administration who promised to act on immigration reform has not done that.”
The bill then went for a vote and passed. At which point the crowd started shouting “Let us speak!” which shut down the hearing.
Susanna Barciela watched the whole thing from her desk at the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center. She believes the law would devastate Florida’s economy.
“260,000 jobs and about 44 billion dollars in economic impact.” Barciela said when we asked about that impact.
Still one could argue you could fill those jobs with the list of people collecting unemployment right now.
Barciela responded “Actually, how many folks that you know would be willing to go pick tomatoes for a living?”
Barciela went on to say the law, similar to what was passed in Arizona, has hurt that state with immigrants, legal and not, leaving.
The bill now makes its way on to two more committees before going up a vote on the senate floor.