The continuing debate on immigration reform was in the news again, this time in Orlando. Florida farm workers joined other immigrant rights activists in a protest caravan traveling from Orlando to Washington, D.C., where it arrived on inauguration day. They are preaching for immigration reform that will end deportations of illegal aliens, which they say unfairly tears families apart.
The activists first marched to Florida Senator Marco Rubio's office where they met with his State Director Todd Reid. In past statements, Senator Rubio has indicated he may be sympathetic to their cause. The caravan’s organizers plan to continue traveling to rural farm communities in what will be a 1,000-mile protest.
The approximately 60 protesters were reportedly inspired by Santos de la Rosa, a Polk county farm worker who traveled the state highways, walking on his knees to protest the policy of deportations.
They hope that their message will be heard by President Obama, who has repeatedly promised that comprehensive immigration relief will be his priority in his second term. The reform envisioned by the President would be centered on finding a way to legalize many of the undocumented immigrants facing removal proceedings.
These moves are in stark contrast to the immigration reforms being implemented in several states such as Arizona and Alabama. Those states passed laws reforming their immigration laws to make it easier to arrest illegal aliens and deny them state benefits.
Immigration law reform is often a controversial and divisive issue. As part of my practice, I represent immigrants facing deportation proceedings. Meeting with them and their families makes you realize the affect the law can have on people’s lives.