The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday on a resolution to support executive action on immigration. Last week, a federal appeals court decided not to overturn an order halting President Obama’s program, which would have deferred deportation for undocumented immigrants who arrived here as children, and their parents.
Local immigration activists are continuing to push for executive action while planning for the election season ahead. Francesca Menes is policy and advocacy coordinator for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. She says the fight for executive action isn’t ending.
“We’re gonna continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform, but we know that our communities need relief now,” Menes says.
Menes' group has been pushing local and state leaders, like the County Board of Commissioners, to support executive action and urge Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to remove Florida from the list of states supporting the lawsuit against the president’s program.
Immigrant advocacy groups are also looking ahead to 2016. Ali Noorani is executive director of the National Immigration Forum, which has a program in Miami.
“I think over the next eighteen months, there are two opportunities for the immigrant community,” says Noorani. “One, is to flex their political muscle. This is a state that will swing based on new American voters. The second piece is holding policymakers and candidates alike accountable for how they are addressing and respecting the undocumented immigrant community.”
Both the Forum and the Coalition are focusing efforts on getting more immigrants to become citizens. Noorani says this will not only influence the outcome of the election, but it will also impact the economy.
“For a person to take that final step and achieve that American dream of frankly becoming an American citizen, means that they are increasing their earnings potential and they’re increasing their spending potential, which is good for businesses across the board,” he says.
For that reason, the National Immigration Forum is spending the bulk of its efforts on naturalizing immigrants and integrating them into the workforce.