Miami Immigration Conference Presses On, Reform Or Not

Nov 19, 2013

The National Partnership for New Americans' immigration advocates help immigrants navigate legalization paperwork.

In Washington last week, the U.S. House of Representatives made it clear that immigration reform is dead in 2013. But in Miami this week, immigrant advocates made it clear that they intend to press on, with or without reform.

At the National Immigrant Integration Conference -- which concludes Tuesday at the downtown Hilton with a mass swearing in of new U.S. citizens -- hundreds of government, business and NGO leaders discussed ways to better usher immigrants into America’s mainstream.

“It’s not in anybody’s interest to have 11 million people hiding in the shadows,” says Joshua Hoyt, co-chairman of the National Partnership for New Americans, which is co-hosting the event with the Florida Immigrant Coalition and the Knight Foundation. “This country needs to walk into solutions for how we help the foreign born and their children be successful.”

Congress may take up immigration reform again in 2014 - although Miami Congressman Mario Diaz Balart warned recently that fellow Republicans may balk at the issue in an election year. One of the stumbling blocks remains whether to give those 11 million undocumented immigrants already here a path to citizenship.

But the Miami conference, whose speakers include U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, is just as focused on getting the millions of legal immigrants in this country to that level.