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.

Comments (15)
  1. Jane Doe says:

    If they people to work on the farms they can bring them here legally on visas. Florida already has a law stating that migrant workers have to be here legally and need to have the labor laws posted in their language. The farmers would rather have illegals that way they can exploit them just like many others who hire them do.

  2. james says:

    Illegal immigrants take jobs from Americans and legal immigrants by working under the table for less than minimum wages. The corporations and businesses love it because they can have more profits while unemployment continues to rise in Florida. I say get rid of the illegals and put the law abiding citizens to work and stop thinking that the only jobs illegals take are in a tomatoe fields. Check the restaurants and valet and mall you will find dozens!!!

    1. Tiroloco says:

      Heavy corn subsidies (so you can eat cheap tortilla chips) have killed agro jobs in Mexico, what are these people to do? I agree with deportation, but if you are going to criminalize laborers, first you have to put the employers in jail.

    2. American says:

      I am a US citizen. Born and raised in the US as well as my family. One thing the US has is Americans who want more money and are not willing to work hard. I have witness where immigrants work side by side wiith Americans and seen how hard they work and how much pride they put into their job. No they dont get paid less. They get paid equal or sometimes more. They also get deducted taxes from the employer. If you werent so ignorant and took the time to speak with them you will see that they are hard workers. If you would work just as hard and show employers how hard you are willing to work than maybe they you wouldnt be unemployed or underpaid.

      1. Kat says:

        Couldnt have said it better myself!

    3. Kat says:

      Maybe some americans wouldn’t be so unemployed if MOST weren’t lazy or don’t have the skills for most jobs

  3. JAMES says:

    LEARN ENGLISH OR GO HOME!

  4. Carla says:

    Go Home,No learn English…Stop Welfare Spending & Others..Wow, Irresponsables Parents left their children(800ish,in Miami) behind..The End of this Country??Immigration Reform…said: NO

    1. TUTIS says:

      for your information CARLA not only immigrants use welfare ok i know sum fuken AMERICANS that use welfare and they even scar their children with krazy checks….. Carla i think you should sit back and look carefully who are the ones that work hard the IMMIGRANTS or the americans

  5. Sniper Bob says:

    There should be area’s of the country where things can stay the same as they are such as Miami Dade County. Los Angeles, and NYC. Across the city or county limits then you can have these laws. Let people “vote” with their feet and wallets, and then you could see which thrive.

  6. Dan says:

    Remember how you all got here. Your family was foreign to this land once also. Remember the Hispanic population now makes up 25% of US population, and those are the citizens. You people sound ignorant. Unless your a tequesta your not a real native. Seminoles even migrated here so remember where you came from, Miami is only 120^ years old. Our diversity is what makes Miami, the magic city

    1. Carla says:

      No…to Immigration Reform..Nooooooo…

  7. vic says:

    Do you think anybody would pay a lot of money to have a visa, and go to pick tomatoes as a future?
    Be real! !
    Them, if you consider yourself a good American against immigrants , why don’t you go pic tomatoes for living yourself?

  8. TUTIS says:

    To all of yall that SAY NO TO AN IMMIGRATION REFORM its because yall are scared that all MEXICANS gather up and get back there land and thank to all of the immigrants every one have vegetables and fruits you never thought of who picks your vegetables and fruits…. i dont know why everyone complains that immigrants are taking away there jobs come on be real to yourself you DONT have JOB because yall are LAZY, DUM ,IRRESPONDSIBLE,DEPENDENT, AND ACT LIKE YALL CANT DO NOTHING and thanks to immigrants the economy is high and if yall cry that economy is getting low well dum ducks think if yall pass the immigration reform it will increase duh! most of the population is immigrants .. i cant believe that suppossly United States have the best education now i know thats a lie why because the politics are acting like if they didnt had five senses…