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Fight for "Compassionate" Immigration Reform in Florida

Photo: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. Courtesy: www.rubio.senate.gov
Photo: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. Courtesy: www.rubio.senate.gov
May 16, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. - Immigration advocates are turning up the heat on Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., asking him to stand strong in his support of what they call "compassionate" immigration reform.

The Florida AFL-CIO and other groups this week are running a media campaign to ask Rubio to continue his initial support for an immigration policy that includes a road map to citizenship for undocumented workers.

Rubio and seven other lawmakers joined to propose comprehensive immigration reform and became known as the "Gang of Eight." However, Jose LaLuz, immigration campaign field coordinator for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said he fears Rubio is losing his resolve.

"I am certainly concerned that he could agree to amendments that could actually debilitate the piece of legislation that he and the Gang of Eight have introduced," LaLuz said.

Rubio recently has been quoted as saying the current legislation is "the beginning of reform." This week a radio ad campaign was released asking him to continue his fight for a comprehensive plan.

LaLuz, a U.S. citizen from Puerto Rico, said his heart breaks when he hears the stories of families separated because of the red tape involved in the immigration process.

"Every time I hear the testimonial of an undocumented family who has lost one of their own, I explode in tears," he said. "I get more energy to continue to achieve our goal."

The Florida AFL-CIO also is pushing for equal pay for immigrant workers, to prevent them from being placed in competition with American workers, and for adult children and siblings of people who already have immigrated to the United States to be given a chance for citizenship.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering the legislation and discussing measures involving a guest worker program and visas for highly skilled workers.

More information is online at fightforflorida.com.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - FL