Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam told state citrus industry leaders Monday that Florida GOP elected officials should be credited for not passing the “mistaken” state immigration laws now in place in Georgia and Alabama.
The Ledger reports that Putnam spoke at the 78th annual meeting of Citrus World Inc. on immigration, saying: “There’s just no good news here. … The best news would be if nothing happens.”
“Thank God for Georgia and Alabama because they’ve given us examples of real-world consequences of these mistaken policies,” he said. “Because of the work done last year, I think this issue is taking a back seat in the Legislature, and I do not anticipate it taking such a large role next year.”
The arguments that alternatives such as unemployed U.S. workers or prison labor will make up for the loss of immigrant harvest workers has not come to pass in those states, Putnam added.
Alabama and Georgia both approved immigration enforcement laws that require police officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they stop, detain or arrest, and prohibits the enforcement of any contract with an unauthorized immigrant. Alabama’s law also requires that K-12 schools check the immigration status of their students.
Gov. Rick Scott recently said:
I tried to get an [immigration] bill passed last year. It got through the Senate. It didn’t make it through the House. It will happen this session.
State Senate President Mike Haridopolis said his chamber would pass the same immigration bill it passed in the 2011 session.
Citrus World Inc. is a cooperative that represents 13 Florida citrus growers associations: “The entire cooperative is made up of more than 1,000 grower-members who own more than 50,000 acres of fine citrus groves in the heart of central Florida.”
According to Open Secrets, from 2000 through 2008, the crop production and basic processing industry (which includes fruit growers) gave Putnam more than $428,000 in congressional campaign contributions.