With hundreds of thousands of people- immigrant or not- lining up in protest in Tallahassee during the last moments of deliberation, this imposing sight proved to be a game changer for Florida lawmakers as they were forced to acknowledge the people’s wishes and back down from their intent of transforming Florida into a full-fledged immigration police state. Even though the Florida Senate approved the controversial immigration bill in a 23-16 vote, the bill ultimately failed as it did not get the votes it needed to pass in the House of Representatives- a fate that stopped the proposed strict immigration bill from becoming law. This is truly a great accomplishment that is worthy of- and in fact is- being celebrated by the countless people who helped achieve this end for the sake of our state’s best interests and that of our residents’.
In the days leading up to the final Congressional decision, there was an organized effort on behalf of immigrant advocates and members of the business, tourism, agriculture, and legal community- one that showcased the power of democracy at its best. The National Immigration Forum had the following to say: “It was a victory for Florida’s economy, businesses, tourists, and immigrants. Florida’s heritage as a state welcoming to immigrants and visitors from around the world has been preserved.” At the beginning of the legislative session that ended on Friday, there seemed to be a consensus in the Florida Congress that deemed it necessary for some kind of immigration bill to pass, and that it surely would by the session’s end. From then on came the deluge of draconian and Arizona-type provisions that culminated in two draconian bills which clear data and evidence showed would have hurt our economy and workforce. Regardless, the push to make the bill into law continued, leaving endless people on each side of the debate in a frenzy, speculating what ought to be done. Fortunately, the suspense is over at last. This tremendous victory means that common sense prevailed over politics because the only thing that said something had to pass was politics- not good policy. We can all now bask in this victory and rest at ease- at least until the next legislative session.