Saturday, February 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: On immigration reform, go beyond the border

As Washington postures and a former Florida governor enters the fray, the reality of dysfunctional U.S. immigration policy continues to play out in communities like Animas, N.M., and El Paso, Texas. The experiences there underscore that border security alone will never be enough. President Barack Obama and a bipartisan group of senators, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, need to continue to push for a comprehensive and rational immigration policy that also deals with the 11 million illegal immigrants already here.

Security at the border between the United States and Mexico is far from perfect. The motivated and the ingenious still find ways to cross illegally, and many bring contraband. But there are far fewer of them, due to a near doubling of investment on border security since 2005 to $11.7 billion. As the Tampa Bay Times' Alex Leary reported last week, increased enforcement now nets just one-third the illegal immigrants it did in 2000. Residents of border areas have seen the impact, including a decrease in crime. But 18-foot barricades now divide what were once cross-border communities. Local American businesses lament the loss of Mexican customers and the difficulty moving goods across the border. And there's less available labor. There's been a social toll as well, with an untold number of families divided. One young man who earned good money helping to build the fence in 2007 told Leary, "Let's move on to other immigration issues."

Unfortunately, that's proving difficult, even after anti-immigrant rhetoric from Republicans undermined their election results in 2012. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, long a voice of reason among Republicans when it comes to immigration policy, has joined the fray. But he has become less helpful at the very moment when he could do the most good. His latest book, Immigration Wars, suggests a less generous position toward illegal immigrants than he has championed in the past. He now says he favors a path to permanent legal residency but not necessarily citizenship, sounding less like a leader on this issue than a politician weighing his options.

In Washington, there is still the need to pander to those who insist that the country must "first secure the border" even as the progress there has been so obvious. Congress should focus on what else needs to be done. As Leary reported, 40 percent of illegal immigrants now in the country entered legally but ignored the deadline to go home.

The right ideas are in play, including creating a probation period for illegal immigrants to come forward, pay a fine and back taxes, and pass a background check as a first step toward citizenship. Younger immigrants brought to the country by their parents would have an easier path. There are also plans to increase requirements on employers to ensure they are hiring only legal immigrants.

More than a quarter-century after President Ronald Reagan signed the country's last comprehensive reform on immigration, its time to do more than just secure the border.

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Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

It’s not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18