May 22, 2013 –

Florida New Majority released the following statement in reaction to yesterday’s bipartisan vote in the United States Senate Judiciary Committee to send the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) for consideration before the full Senate:  

Like many in Florida, we are encouraged to see that the process to reform our immigration system is moving forward and that several provisions that strengthen family unity were included in this bill.  This included provisions that provided legal representation to unaccompanied minors and the prohibition of solitary confinement for children and minor punishments.

However, we are disappointed that our LGBT brothers and sisters were excluded, even though poll numbers indicate support among Florida voters. In fact, according to Public Policy Polling, 67% of respondents statewide think that our immigration system should keep families together regardless of the parents’ sexual orientation, 55% of which were registered Republicans, 87% of which were registered Democrats and 55% of respondents who were registered as  Independents or members of other parties.

We are also concerned that the expansion of thedefinition of “aggravated felony” to include a third DUI conviction. This misleading term already applies to far too many crimes that are neither aggravated or felonies. Its expansion will worsen the deportation of longtime legal immigrants (including permanent residents) for mistakes that occurred long ago, with no meaningful access for judicial review. It is a policy change that further erodes trust between residents and law enforcement while benefiting the corporate prison building industry than it does community safety.

As we eagerly await the full Senate’s vote, we continue to call on the Administration to halt the continued criminalization of aspiring Americans for non-violent offenses and suspend these kinds of detentions and deportations until a fix to our broken immigration system is in place.