Lawmakers of the Sunshine State unsuccessfully attempted to introduce an Arizona-style bill during last week’s special legislative session. Lawmakers plan to bring up the issue again in September. The majority of the public for its part supports the introduction of the bill. A recent poll revealed almost two out of three Florida voters favor the bill with less than a third agreeing with the government’s challenge of Arizona’s legislation.
Florida is ranked third in the States as the largest residence of unauthorized immigrants, with a little over 1 million, and the main reason behind the Arizona-style bill support. Taxpayers are currently footing the bill to educate undocumented immigrant children, provide healthcare, and maintain incarcerated undocumented criminals. There is an estimated burden of $678 for each Florida household headed by an American citizen. The high unemployment rate in the state coupled with the costs associated with undocumented immigrants has residents worried.
For their part Agricultural businesses are worried because the vast majority of workers they employ are undocumented. They also think it’s a fallacy that undocumented workers are taking American jobs. They try to recruit American workers but most leave in a week due to the harsh working conditions. Most agricultural businesses favor a pathway to citizenship for these workers or at least the implementation of the federal guest worker program.