The Miami-Dade County Commission today will consider a resolution urging the state Legislature not to pass legislation related to immigration, “while supporting comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level.”

Sponsored by Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, the resolution (.pdf) states

  • “Miami-Dade County has the most diverse population in the State of Florida, and one of the most diverse populations in the U.S.”
  • “65 percent of the residents of Miami-Dade County are Hispanic or Latino.”
  • “Of the non-Hispanic population, 17 percent are White and 17 percent are African American or Black with a significant part being of Caribbean descent.”
  • “Approximately one-half of the people living in Miami-Dade County were born in another country, with the most common countries of origin being Cuba, Nicaragua, Colombia, Haiti, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Jamaica.”
  • “Among people at least five years old living in Miami-Dade County in 2010, 71 percent spoke a language other than English at home, with 88 percent speaking Spanish and 12 percent speaking some other language.”
  • “Protecting the people of Miami-Dade County from unnecessary and unwarranted requests for immigration documents is of paramount importance.”

The resolution adds that during the 2011 session, the Florida Senate considered Senate Bill 2040, which “would have required immigration checks of inmates and also would have required employers to use the federal [E-Verify] system to verify [an employee’s] immigration status,” while the “House’s bill, HB 7189, would have provided for immigration checks when a person is under a criminal investigation and there is reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal immigrant.”

The Florida Legislature failed to pass both bills mentioned, which would also have made programs such as Secure Communities a permanent part of law enforcement in Florida.

Problems with Secure Communities, a federal immigration enforcement program, has already prompted elected officials from other states to opt out of the program. The program counts the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and all of Florida’s counties (.pdf) as participants.

In early August, Miami-Dade’s legislative delegation discussed immigration reform — a signal that the controversial issue will be important in Florida’s 2012 legislative session.

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