The Miami-Dade County Commission approved on Tuesday a resolution urging the Florida Legislature to not pass any immigration legislation in 2012. Sponsored by Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, the resolution states that “Miami-Dade County has the most diverse population in the State of Florida, and one of the most diverse populations in the U.S. with 65% of the residents being Hispanic of Latino.” The resolution also pointed out that approximately one-half of the people living in Miami-Dade County were born in another country, with the most common countries of origin being Cuba, Nicaragua, Colombia, Haiti, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.” Among the people at least five years old living in the county in 2010, 71% spoke a language other than English at home, with 88% speaking Spanish and 12% speaking some other language.” For all of these reasons, the Commission asserted, “protecting the people of Miami-Dade County from unnecessary and unwarranted requests for immigration documents is of paramount importance.”
However clear the message conveyed by the County Commissioner’s resolution, underscoring the prevalence of the immigrant population in Miami Dade, Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolis said his chamber would pass the same immigration bill it passed in the 2011 session. Thus, even though said bill failed to become law due to the House of Representatives turning it down, Sen. Haridopolis left no room for questioning his intent to pass the stringent bill in the 2012 legislative session. According to the Miami Herald, “Gov. Rick Scott and Tea Party activists around the state have said they want to make passage of an immigration bill a top priority of the legislative session. But the vote may be difficult for many legislators running for re-election in 2012. Because of redistricting, they will be forced to run in newly-drawn legislative districts and appeal to constituents they are not accustomed to serving.” And legislators know full well how politically risky it is go to against the wishes of their constituents. The question will be whether major districts like those encompassing Miami-Dade and Broward Counties will come out strongly against this bill and whether their stance on the issue will be enough to block it once again.