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Florida is one of the top six states for undocumented immigrants

Florida often has a heavy-handed approach toward immigration enforcement. Officials and lawmakers often use immigration as a talking point to impress their voters. Recently, despite no major cities in Florida participating in the sanctuary city program, Florida lawmakers began considering a ban on participation for Florida municipalities.

It may come as some surprise, then, for the average person to learn that the state is one of the six states in the country with the highest rates of undocumented workers or immigrants. However, despite a political climate that is openly hostile toward undocumented immigrants, there are a large number of them in the state.

That doesn't just mean that there are a high number of undocumented immigrants in Florida. It also means that a significant number of Florida businesses engage in the practice of hiring undocumented workers, potentially for their own financial gain. Those who live in Florida, regardless of their immigration status, should educate themselves about their rights under state and federal laws.

Pew analysis finds that Florida has unusually high rates

The Pew Research Center analyzes and tracks data collected across the country to better understand social trends. They found that between 2007 and 2017, the number of undocumented immigrant workers declined substantially. However, in 2017, that still meant that there were 7.6 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country.

Of the 50 states in the country, six states are home to about 57% of all unauthorized immigrants. New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas and California are in that top six along with Florida. Even so, it does look like there are more than two hundred thousand fewer undocumented immigrants in Florida than there were roughly a decade ago. Given that Florida places so highly on the list, continued, aggressive immigration enforcement efforts in the state are likely.

Undocumented immigrants and workers have rights in Florida

Even when someone doesn't have paperwork for legally working in the United States, that doesn't mean they have no rights. It may be possible for currently employed individuals to seek a visa through their employer. Other times, individuals may qualify for protections under asylum laws. People can seek protected status and then potentially citizenship in the future.

There are other scenarios, including people who marry citizens and those who are victims of crimes committed by citizens, where an individual may have an improved opportunity to seek a visa in the United States despite their current undocumented status. Immigration law is complex, so working with a professional can improve your odds of success.

Florida residents who do not have all of their immigration paperwork in order would likely benefit from sitting down to discuss their situation with an experienced Florida immigration attorney.

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