There are very few states in the whole of the US that have as much at stake as Florida when it comes to the issue of immigration reform. Almost one in every five people in the state is an immigrant as are 29.7% of business owners. Florida stands to gain a lot from an immigration system that functions smoothly, and also has a lot to lose from any system that remains out of touch with current social and economic realities.
However, the House of Representatives is continuing to drag its feet on the issue months after immigration reform legislation was passed by the Senate. Aside from mulling over a couple of enforcement bills and making a few speeches, the House has done very little to revamp the current broken system and offered little in the way of a vision for the future for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants who call the United States home, 825,000 of whom live in Florida.
As Congress waits, economic opportunities and taxpayer dollars continue to be lost. The US government has spent as much as $186.8 billion on immigration enforcement since the last overhaul of the system back in 1986, yet failed to keep unauthorized immigrants out of the country.
On the flipside, had legal immigration paths for such people been offered, then the economy of the US and of Florida in particular would have been given much needed boosts, according to a UCLA study by Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda.