Editor’s Note – The announced immigration bill proposal is definately red meat for the conservative base. Polls indicate strong support for tough immigration laws and this will be seen as a positive step in addressing an important issue.
However, Bill McCollum’s timing is highly questionable.
Don’t take my word for it, take it from nationally known columnist Charles Krauthammer; “I think the fact that it was announced today is pure opportunism. It looks like it’s a Hail Mary [McCollum] is throwing with a few weeks to go. I’m not sure I would take it that seriously.”
McCollum Proposes Immigration Bill Similar To AZ
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (AP) – State Attorney General Bill McCollum said his proposal that would require Florida police officers to check a person’s immigration status during traffic stops or arrests improves on Arizona’s contentious law.
A federal judge in Arizona last month blocked a provision in the Arizona law that requires officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws. But McCollum, who is a Republican candidate for governor, said the Florida bill would get around the judge’s concerns by strictly defining what is considered “reasonable suspicion” and also by specifically prohibiting profiling based on race, color or national origin.
The Florida bill also would allow courts to increase penalties if a convict is in the country illegally. It also would consider legal residency when setting bond for a suspect. Noncitizens who don’t carry documents showing they were in the country legally would face a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 20 days in jail and a $100 fine.
The bill also would force Florida businesses to use an online tool that runs a worker’s information against Department of Homeland Security and Social Security databases to check whether the person is permitted to work in the U.S.
Business owners found to have illegal workers would be on three years of probation during which they would have to file quarterly reports on new hires.
“I think when we’re done passing this law, Arizona is going to want our law,” McCollum said during a news conference with several Republican state lawmakers. “They’re going to want to pass our law because we’re better, we’re stronger and we’re tougher and we’re fairer.”
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