Florida has one of the highest levels of illegal immigration in the United States. An estimated 925,000 unauthorized immigrants lived in the state in 2012, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center review of Hispanic issues
. While there appears to be nationwide stability, Florida is one of seven states that marked a significant growth in immigrant populations between 2009 and 2012.
In Florida, just under 5 percent of the total state population is estimated to have arrived via illegal immigration.
The Immigration Policy Center reported
that about 20 percent of all Floridians are foreign-born immigrants. Many of those have become citizens. Those who are undocumented make up almost 7 percent of the state’s workforce. The Immigration Policy Center credits immigrants with $150 billion in purchasing power.
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According to the Migration Policy Institute
, about 53 percent of the foreign-born residents of Florida have become naturalized citizens. About 46 percent of the immigrants living in Florida are non-citizens – including those here through illegal immigration. Most of Florida’s immigrants identify as white (66.5 percent) and Latino (57.1 percent).
About 20 percent of the immigrants living in Florida are older than 64 years of age.
Undocumented immigrants in Florida are fighting for more rights. The Miami Herald reported a group called the Florida Immigrant Coalition
works toward initiatives to give legal rights, such as driver’s licenses, to illegal immigrants. The campaign called “Drive Safe Sunshine State” is attempting to turn Florida into the 12th state to give driver’s license rights to immigrants who have come to the state illegally.
“Families of immigrants face the fear of deportation for being in the highways, and case after case after case that we see of deportations is because of driving without a license,” Maria Rodriguez, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, told the Miami Herald.
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