Let’s call it the economic imperative; the argument against stringent immigration laws that had success in Arizona and Utah. The argument makes a case in favor of immigrants for a very sound economic reason – immigrants are vital to the economic well being of the state. In Arizona and in Utah the message was carried by state and local chambers of commerce, those who foot the bills for the expensive political campaigns that keep the state legislators in office. It’s been those guys, the big money guys, that have made an impact where regular folks haven’t. And that’s because the big money guys understand how the immigrant community is needed to keep their states solvent and the money flowing.
Florida’s beginning to get it as well.
Fox News Latino reports that there are two bills gaining strength in the Florida state legislature that would mimic Arizona’s sb1070 to some extent: HB7089, introduced by Republican Rep. William Snyder, gives police the authority to
- investigate the immigration status of people in custody if the police think the person is undocumented, and
- requires companies to use the E-Verify program to check the legal status of their employees.
SB2040, sponsored by Republican Sen. Anitere Flores, directs
- sheriff’s departments in the state to establish agreements with the Department of Homeland Security to detain foreigners with a criminal record, and
- all local police departments to take part in the Secure Communities program that verifies the immigration status of all persons under arrest.
Opponents of the bills, including the Florida Immigrant Coalition, say that they would send the state into economic turmoil; Florida is deeply dependent on Latino spending, labor and investment.
In fact, Latinos are so ingrained in the state economy that the economic imperative in Florida is enormous.
Hispanics leaving Florida will mean more homes in foreclosure, fewer tourists on the beaches and fewer shoppers in the malls.
If all undocumented aliens were deported from Florida, the state would lose activities that contribute $43 billion to the economy, along with 262,436 jobs, according to the Perryman Group report.
Tourism, which poured $60.9 billion into the state economy in 2009, is another area that would be hit by an “anti-immigrant law,” Kateel said.
Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina accounted for 1.7 million tourists who visited Florida in 2009, according to official figures from Visit Florida.
Both bills are making their way through the committee process.
Follow Victor Landa on Twitter: @vlanda
[Photo by StuSeeger]
Reposted with permission from Taco News