Florida Candidates on Immigration Reform

In Miami, Florida, the race for Congress between two candidates rest, largely, on their stance on immigration. Miami consists of a very large Hispanic community from various countries with various views on immigration reform. Republican Carlos Curbelo is challenging Democratic Rep Joe Garcia to represent Florida’s 26th congressional district.

Garcia, is a proponent of immigration reform and states that there is no community in the United States that could benefit more from immigration reform than the South Florida community. Curbelo, also advocates immigration reform and believes it is an economic and educational issue in addition to an immigration issue.

Florida is more like an outlier in terms of the rest of the nation and where each side of the aisle sees immigration reform. While Washington D.C. splits down the middle on the immigration issue, representatives from Miami are calling for bipartisan efforts to pass some form of immigration reform.

Both Curbelo and Garcia were extremely disappointed in the further delay of President Obama in enacting executive action in the immigration context when the President announced that he would wait until after the November elections. Even GOP possible presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have supported a bipartisan immigration reform plan that includes border security and a pathway to legality and possible citizenship for immigrants who are undocumented, although Rubio later backed off from the citizenship path later.

South Florida has one of the larger immigration courts in the Country with over 20 Immigration Judges hearing removal proceeding cases each and every day. The Immigration Judges preside over proceedings and decide whether immigrants can remain in the United States or are ordered deported to their countries. Prosecuting these cases are members of the Office of Chief Counsel, Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys who represent the United States in deportation proceedings.

The immigrants called to court range from visa overstays, to green card holders with criminal convictions. Both are immigration law violations and subject the immigrant to deportation. The immigration courts are overwhelmed with cases and the case load has become even larger with the influx of undocumented children over the southern border. Those cases have been placed on “rocket dockets” in an effort to process them quickly. As a result, the existing cases have been placed on hold or continued to dates that can range to three years out.

Some immigrants in removal proceedings who are waiting for a Judge to decide on their case have to wait until 2018 in some jurisdictions. A comprehensive solution to our immigration system will surely help these people as well.

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