Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum and state Rep. William Snyder, R-Stuart, chairman of the House Criminal and Civil Justice Policy Council released a proposed immigration enforcement bill on Wednesday.
“This legislation will provide new enforcement tools for protecting our citizens and will help our state fight the ongoing problems created by illegal immigration,” said McCollum in a press release. “Florida will not be a sanctuary state for illegal aliens.”
The release continues:
Like Arizona, the draft legislation requires aliens to carry immigration documentation or face a misdemeanor carrying a sentence of up to 20 days in jail for the first offense. The proposal also makes it a misdemeanor for an illegal alien not authorized to work to seek employment in the state of Florida.
“Floridians want to see their elected officials provide leadership to the challenges of illegal aliens living our state,” said Snyder in the release. “This proposal is a significant step forward in confronting illegal immigration.”
A comprehensive immigration policy is supposed to be the responsibility of the federal government, but the federal government has failed to secure our borders and crack down on illegal immigration. As Governor, Alex Sink will impose stiff state fines on private companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants and require all state agencies to verify legal status when hiring state employees. Also no private company will keep or receive a state contract if they’ve knowingly hired illegal workers. Florida should crack down on the things that entice illegal immigrants to come here in the first place.
Mark Hollis, the communications director for Florida House Dems, just returned a call from TFI and discussed the party’s position on the issue:
I have heard our members acknowledge there is public frustration with illegal immigration because of drugs, violence so states must get tougher on this issue.
I couldn’t give you a party answer because members opinions may vary but they would say immigration policy is determined by the federal government, but states can get tougher on employers who hire illegal immigrants, for example.
Maria Rodriguez, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), told TFI,
What exactly is this bill going to fix?
It’s not going to make our borders more secure. It’s not going to address the foreclosure crisis, it’s not going to get Floridians better paying jobs. It’s going to divide us and in fact, it’s going to make us LESS safe. This bill undermines not only our constitutional American values but it will undermine law enforcement’s ability to keep our communities safe—victims and witnesses of crime will be less likely to work with police, for example.
Florida is not Arizona. In Florida we welcome diversity. In fact, Florida has progressed in great part with the contribution of immigrants, whether in agriculture, tourism or construction. Immigrants have represented progress for Florida. Of all states, Florida has shown that when immigrants are given an opportunity– we all prosper. Ask the Cubans and the Puerto Ricans. We don’t want racial profiling, we want real security, and real solutions.
In July state Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, and state Rep. Kevin Ambler, R-Tampa, proposed similar legislation. State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, recently told TFI he will continue to move forward with his proposal to enforce Arizona-style immigration legislation in Florida.
Shannon Knowles, the information specialist at the Office of the Florida Attorney General told TFI in a written statement
The Dockery/Ambler bills were filed specifically for the most recent special session. Since those bills were not taken up and passed, those bills died when special session finished. They would need to re-file those bills for any upcoming session or for the 2011 regular session. We do not believe Sen. Bennett has filed a bill, yet.
The McCollum-Snyder proposal includes provisions that prohibit all authorities within the state “from limiting or restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law”
The proposal requires notification of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection of “the discharge from imprisonment of an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States and who has been convicted of a violation of state or local law”
It stipulates that a local law enforcement agency “may transport an alien into federal custody.”
It also covers unlawful stopping to hire and pick up passengers for work, unlawful application or solicitation or employment, situations that allow lawful arrest without a warrant, and prohibits knowingly hiring or employing unauthorized aliens and penalties for doing so and explains the use of E-verify program.