Tampa – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is pressing for immigration reform, and his plan could bring big changes to Florida.
He wants to give all undocumented immigrants a process to step out of the shadows, and stay here legally if they play by the rules. Under his plan, they could pay a fine for not having documents, clear a background check, obtain a work permit, pay back-taxes, and apply to become permanent residents. From there, they may be able to also apply for citizenship.
For years, plans to reform our immigration system have failed. But this year may be different. President Obama will make immigration reform a top priority, and Congress is under pressure to respond.
"There's a deep unfairness, a deep injustice in the way our immigration policy works today," said Rev. Russell Meyer, a Lutheran pastor and executive director of the Florida Council of Churches. "Our policy for immigration in the United States really works to break up families rather than keep families intact. We find that detrimental to society and immoral based on our faith principles."
Rubio is testing the waters with his proposals he outlines over the weekend in the Wall Street Journal. But he will likely face strong resistance from conservatives in his own party who have resisted immigration reform.
There are an estimated 11 million undocumented people in the United States.
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