Miami Immigration Lawyer Says Immigration Reform Progress Hampered by Election

Law Firm Newswire



Miami, FL (Law Firm Newswire) April 16, 2012 – E-verify is still around. However, given the suspected death of immigration reform, one wonders why.

“Florida seems to be the arena for some grisly fights over and about immigration reform. No one seemed to know the meaning of the term moderation, until the latest proposal by a state representative, House Bill 1315. If passed, this would have mandated private businesses to check the residency of new hires with E-verify. It didn’t make it to a committee hearing,” remarked Larry S. Rifkin, managing partner at Rikfin & Fox-Isicoff, an immigration law firm with law offices in Miami, Florida and Orlando, Florida.

It seems odd this bill was stalled, as it was tamer than the one being pushed earlier by another representative, one frighteningly similar to Arizona’s notorious crackdown legislation. Given the fact that this is an election year, it is not so difficult to figure out why the proposed, somewhat reasonable legislation, did not make it any further. However, there is more at play here besides the election. Agricultural industry groups did not back this proposal.

“The long and short of it is that the agricultural sector was not in favor of using E-verify to check new hires. This is because they need all the workers they can get during their picking season, and this is also why they want something like a guest worker program as a part of immigration reform. Americans do not want the laborer’s job and the crop has to be picked by someone,” said Rifkin.

On the other side of the fence are other industries, such as the building and contracting sector. When E-verify was first brought into play, they were against it, as it was inaccurate, and caused untold grief when mistakes were made. Over time, the bugs have been ironed out of the system, and many business owners are finding it to be more reliable. In fact, in the Florida East Coast business sector, more than 600 members of the building and contracting industry alone voluntarily use E-verify.

Provided the business community is treated with fairness and respect, has immunity from any lawsuits arising from using the system and it would be used for government entities, things would be on an even playing field. House Bill 1315 had both of those provisions included. However, no one was listening or wanted to debate the Bill’s merits.

“Is there a better solution? Heaven’s knows there is, it just needs to be found. But given the current state of the union, the election, the poor economy and politicians who would rather just talk about immigration reform, than do something about it, what you see now is what you get. And what you see now may well be what you still get in the future. Politicians are not noted for their alacrity in dealing with thorny issues like this, lest they lose votes,” Rifkin observed.

Bill 1315 was relatively benign compared to others introduced in Florida. It only called for the use of E-verify on new hires, not existing employees. It also made provisions for a system for people to file complaints about businesses that hired illegal aliens. From an outsider’s point of view, this would have been a fair bill, and some would say a balanced one.

“All that we really know is that immigration reform will not die, and issues like this one will continue to crop up. The root of all necessary changes needs to be an overhaul of the immigration system, something that may never happen, if you look at the government’s track record to date,” Rifkin added.
To learn more or to contact an Orlando immigration attorney or Miami immigration attorney, visit

Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, P.A.
1110 Brickell Avenue
Suite 210
Miami, Florida 33131
Toll Free: (866) 681-0202

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