Citing a more tolerant political atmosphere and a developing need for workers, leading Florida conservatives are calling on Congress to support and pass comprehensive immigration reform.
One good reason: It would renew the state's dwindling supply of warm bodies.
"Our birthrate is about 1.7 per couple. We're not even replacing ourselves now," warned Ed Moore, president of the Florida Center Right Coalition, one of three noted conservatives who joined former state GOP chairman Al Cárdenas in a conference call with state reporters.
The central idea is that jobs will soon go begging -- if they aren’t already -- because of a lack of Floridians to fill them. Too few of us are being born, the conservative leaders said, and too many of us are checking out.
"We're starting to see an increase in the baby boomer generation retiring and there's simply not skilled workers there or unskilled workers there to fill those openings," said Brewster Bevis, vice-president the business lobby Associated Industries of Florida.
Cárdenas said early midterm primary results have already shown that even the reddest districts will forgive their representatives for voting or campaigning in favor of immigration reform.
"The needle has definitely moved in the right direction," Cárdenas said. "I believe that skeptics in the House chamber have gone to either support or an open mind about immigration."